350 families living on shitol pati business at Rajapur


Md Mahabub Alam back from Jhalakati :
About 350 families belonging to the Hindu community at Haila Kathi under Rajapur Upazila in Jhalakati district make shitol pati (cooling mat), as means of livelihood.
But the demand of the product deceasing, price of mats has fallen but raw materials are still costly, said an inhabitant of Haila Kathi.
We inherited the profession from our fathers and tried to save it, since it is our only earning source. But in the backdrop of the reversed situation, we are now thinking of leaving the profession, said he.
Parul Rani Patikar, wife of Khokan Patikar and also a maker of shitol pati told The New Nation that both she and her husband used to make mats and sell those to a wholesaler at Rajapur.
She said, the sale price of a normal size of shitol pati is Tk 900 to Tk 950 against its production cost of Tk 825, meaning that the they earn a little profit
She says that Tk 225 is needed for buying raw materials, Tk 300 for processing and Tk 300 for paying wage. “The price decreases at the time of rainy season also”, she said.
Palash Chndra Pal and Babu Patikar said, they couldn’t choose their buyers. Rather it is they who decide whom they will sell their products to.
The price of their products depends on the wholesalers. “If we do not want to sell our mats at low price, they remain unsold in our houses for long”. With limited income, we can hardly maintain their families.
The situation can be improved if the producers are sanctioned bank loans at low rate of interest. Moreover, there should be channel to export the products abroad.
This was disclosed in a two-day workshop on ‘Advocacy and Communication Development Project for Women and Children’ (4th phase) organised by Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS) under the Ministry of Information and funded by United Nations International Children Education Fund (UNICEF) on February 19 and 20.