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Boat sales on the rise at Pirojpur Noukar Haat as monsoon begins

  • Published at 05:46 pm July 16th, 2020
Boats showcased for sale at the weekly “Noukar Haat” (boat market) in Kuriana under the Swarupkathi upazila of Pirojpur Dhaka Tribune

The two-kilometre-long market is well known for the trade in different varieties of boats during the monsoon season

As the monsoon season has begun, trading of boats are going on in full swing at the weekly “Noukar Haat” (boat market) in Kuriana under the Swarupkathi upazila of Pirojpur district. 

The two-kilometre-long market is well known for the trade in different varieties of boats during the monsoon season.

The weekly Haat is held  every Friday during the rainy season between the Bangla months of Ashar and Ashwin.

“Panis” or “Pinis”, “Dingi” and “Naak Golui” are the types of boats available for sale, built by local craftsmen from the Muktahar, Chami, Boldia, Inderhaat, Boitha Kata, Dubi and Kathali villages in the upazila.

Waterways and boats are an integral part of the country’s southern transportation system, serving about 80% the population.

Traditional country boats made of wood are still popular in southern Bangladesh. They facilitate transportation and are means of livelihood for many of the region’s inhabitants.

Commonly used timbers for building boats are from locally available Koroi, Raintrees, Jarul, Shal, Sundari, Mahogany and Teak trees, boat makers said.

Boat maker Sanjoy Gharami from Boitha Kata village said: “We mainly use timbers from Raintree, Chambal and Sundari trees to build boats."

The boats are convenient for carrying crops on shallow waters during monsoon. Sanjoy said the boat-building skills had been passed down from generation to generation.

Asked how many days it takes to build a boat, boat carpenter Sanjoy Gharami said it would be possible to build a boat within four days if working with a helper.

Some of the boat makers said they made between 20% and 25% profit from the sale of a boat at Tk1200-Tk4000.

Boat carpenter Yusuf Ali said the cost of the boats varied depending on design, size, finishing, coating, cost of labour and construction materials used.

One of the buyers, Joydhar, said this market sold flat-bottomed boats suitable for rowing across shallow water.

Joydhar said the boats were 13.5ft to 18ft in length and 3ft to 4ft in width, and could be operated easily by one or two boatmen to cover a short distance.

Habibur Mistri of Chami village said that his boat could ply on shallow water for one or two seasons in good condition, depending on the wood, coating resins, materials and maintenance.

At “Nouakar Haat” small “Pinis” boats are sold at Tk1500-Tk1700 and large ones at Tk2500-Tk4500. “Dingi” boats sell at Tk2500-Tk3000 and “Naak Golui” at Tk1500-Tk2000.

More than 500 families live off the boat-building business in the region, says Manoj Kumar, Izaradar (leaser) of Noukar Haat.

“We take a 5%-10% commission on the sale of boats and on an average 60-100 boats are sold every Friday,” said Manoj.

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