Middle class joining in the line of poor, ultra poor
Golam Mostafa Jibon : The line of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) is getting longer day by day as the prices of all necessary commodities are on the rise ahead of Ramadan even after huge stock of goods.
Not only poor and ultra poor, middle class people are taking part in the TCB line with a hope to get the essential commodities at cheap rates. But, many are going back with empty hands due to short supply of commodities and mismanagement of the concerned TCB dealers and their men.
Sources said, Bangladesh is not out of negative impact of the global pandemic Coronavirus.
As the number of unemployed has increased in the country, the prices of daily necessities are skyrocketing everyday on different plea. As a result, many jobless and middle class people are losing their purchasing capacity. They can’t afford their livelihoods.
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has stepped up its activities as the government became failure to bring the prices of daily commodities to a tolerable level even after holding frequent meetings with the traders. Although, this program has been started for the slum dwellers and low income people, people from low and middle class are seen waiting in long lines to buy TCB products due to massive clutch of Corona pandemic. The government is conducting TCB activities with subsidy of crores of Taka to support the helpless people of the society in the market of daily commodities. The general public is not getting TCB products even after standing in long lines for hours. The activities of TCB are being disrupted due to a cycle of unscrupulous people. Therefore, various quarters have demanded to increase the truck sales. They said that, the general public is not getting the benefit of this initiative due to the weakness of surveillance. In this case, if the product was sold by registering the voter ID card or any other name, the activities of the organized cycle would be stopped, they said. Meanwhile, many buyers have to go back every day without getting the product.
While talking, a salesman of TCB’s truck in Banasree on condition of anonymity told The Daily Industry that the buyer’s line is getting twice or thrice as much as the daily per capita allocation from TCB. For this reason, it cannot be given to everyone. As a result, those at the back of the line do not receive the product and are being forced to go back with empty hand.
Meanwhile, those concerned are pointing fingers at the activities of TCB. Many unscrupulous TCB dealers are selling their TCB goods at open market without selling those on trucks. As a result, many poor and middle class people are being deprived of getting goods with fair price.
Besides, many have been accused of selling less than the allotted product. Neither the district administration nor the local government is monitoring the activities of the truck cell. As a result, dealers are selling whatever they want. The truck sale was supposed to start at 10:00 am every day, but in many places it was noon. As a result, long lines of buyers are being formed at all the truck sales points in the city. Consumers have to wait a long time to buy these products. It is seen that ordinary buyers are lined up for hours in the name of packaging the goods sold. But if the products were packaged before sale, the people would not suffer. Besides, the sale was stopped on the plea of finishing of stock. As a result, buyers are not getting the desired product even after waiting for hours.
Trading Corporation of Bangladesh head office secretary Manzoor Alam Pradhan said, “It is true that lower-middle class and middle class people are seen queuing up to buy TCB products. We have come to know that many people are not getting the products while standing. It is up to the higher authorities of TCB to ensure that no one can take the product more than once, and that everyone should get the product of TCB. The month of Ramadan is ahead. They should soon take various initiatives to keep the sales activities uninterrupted.
TCB senior executive and information officer Humayun Kabir said, “TCB products are now being sold by truck at 450 points across the country, including Dhaka. The month of Ramadan is approaching fast. During this time, TCB should operate more than 500 points across the country, including the capital city of Dhaka, to sell TCB products by trucks.”
“We handed over letters to the police commissioners, while taking over the activities of TCB. Security is the responsibility of the police department. Our job is to offer products. Even then our dealers try to solve the problem by calling 999, if they see any problem,” he added.
Although, TCB is supposed to run its activities to deliver essential commodities to the common people at affordable prices, there are allegations that real low-income people are not getting the products in most of the spots. In order to buy oil, sugar, onion and lentil pulses at a lower price than the market price, a group of rich people or their rented people are standing in lines to collect the goods every day. Later, it was alleged that these products were being sold at higher prices (slightly lower than the market price) in the grocery stores of the neighborhood.
TCB’s mobile trucks are selling sugar at Tk 55 per Kg, lentils at Tk 60, soybean oil at Tk 110 per liter and onions at Tk 30 per Kg. A buyer can buy a minimum of two to a maximum of five Kg of onion, two Kg of lentils, two Kg of sugar and five litter of soybean oil. Most of the buyers complained that, they come back every day to buy TCB products and meet some familiar faces. Most of them are women and children.
They have been sitting in front of different spots since morning or occupying the place by laying bricks on the road. When the TCB truck arrives, they get the product first. Turns out their people are seen collecting products more than once.
The Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) has demanded that TCB’s truck cell be brought under citizen scrutiny. The CAB leaders made the demand in a statement sent to the media expressing concern over mismanagement of truck cells, including sale of goods in general stores, with many returning after a long wait at the TCB line.
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