We all live in a FLOATING HOUSE!


Life in the Buriganga embarkation boats

Just under the Babubazar Bridge in the capital, next to Mitford Mortuary, is a floating boarding house center of which many in the city have no idea.

Made of steel, these two-story piers almost look like trawlers, but without any motors. When this correspondent recently visited the region, five of them were anchored by the river.

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Inside the boats, the pieces are approximately six feet in height, four and a quarter feet by two and a half feet in length and width. Depending on the size, rooms range from 50 to 150 Tk, the latter of which can accommodate five people at a time.

They remain open from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m., closing for three hours for fear of thieves.

WITH ROOM RENTS RANGING FROM TK 50 TO TK 150 PER DAY, IT IS NOT Astonishing that SADARGHAT PENSIONER CUSTOMERS PREFER THEM OVER OTHER CHEAP HOUSING FACILITIES, SUCH AS A RESIDENTIAL MESS. IN ADDITION, THE SENSATION OF TILTING CREATED BY THE WAVES AND THE SOUND OF THE RAIN DROPS ON THEIR ROOFTOPS MAKES THIS PLACE A SENSATION LIKE NO OTHER. PHOTO: ANISUR RAHMAN

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WITH ROOM RENTS RANGING FROM TK 50 TO TK 150 PER DAY, IT IS NOT Astonishing that SADARGHAT PENSIONER CUSTOMERS PREFER THEM OVER OTHER CHEAP HOUSING FACILITIES, SUCH AS A RESIDENTIAL MESS. IN ADDITION, THE SENSATION OF TILTING CREATED BY THE WAVES AND THE SOUND OF THE RAIN DROPS ON THEIR ROOFTOPS MAKES THIS PLACE A SENSATION LIKE NO OTHER. PHOTO: ANISUR RAHMAN

This correspondent spoke to the director of Shariatpur Muslim Boarding, Shah Jamal. He said his owner, Abdus Sattar, started the business, the first of its kind here, in 1960. After his death, he passed it on to his son. The two-storey hotel has 52 rooms.

The director said that the usual clients are people in the low income category, especially those who do not have a secure source of income. Unlike most paid residences, some clients stay here for years, with one client in particular staying for over 40!

Owners greet guests, setting rates with convenience in mind. Boarding provides free blankets, water and electricity.

When this correspondent spoke to Hasan (25), he was speaking with his five-year-old son by video call. Fruit seller in Badamtoli in Old Dhaka he said he has been staying here in a Tk 80 room for 6 months. Previously he spent 1,500 Tk per month in a residential mess, but said it was more convenient as the boarding house bills per day, with free equipment.

Faridpur Muslim Boarding director Mostafa Kamal said he had been running it for 33 years. The two-storey establishment now has 48 rooms.

At Sabuj Mia’s Boarding, formerly known as Buriganga Boarding, there are around 30 rooms. One of his clients, Md Rasel, works as a day laborer in the Sadarghat region. He said he had been staying here for 7 years, in one of the Tk 50 mass rooms in Sabuj Mia.

As a long-time player, he has built relationships with the staff, who often lend him money and let him stay on credit when times get tough.

“I enjoy the slight rocking sensation on the boat from the waves. It’s not too noisy as it’s quite far from the terminal. It also has a nice view, especially during the monsoon, while the sound of the raindrops on its tin roofs is just the icing on the cake, ”he said.

Collisions do not provide any food, but it can be brought in from outside. Most boats are old enough, constantly being repaired to keep them afloat.

Although there are only five of these boats now, there were more, with around 10 to 11 in service during the Pakistani period. During Ershad’s regime, a Hindu-owned boat was set on fire following the Babri Masjid massacre in India. This was one of the turning points, after which the numbers started to drop.

The more than 200 people who live in these five nearby boats are like their own mohalla. Aside from the lingering threat of mosquitoes and the foul smell of a rotting Buriganga, those who stay here say it makes for a fairly decent community life.


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