A fire on January 3 burned around 700 permanent and temporary shops at the kitchen market and its adjacent wholesale supermarket that sold various household items and everyday groceries, baby food, furniture and other items.
The affected traders claimed the losses would be around Tk500-600 crore while around 2,500 people got out of employment.
“The fire took away everything including goods, cash and papers. And the total loss in my shop would be above Tk4 lakh. It was gone with the blaze,” said vegetables trader Mohammad Siraj, 45, who was loitering on the footpath beside the Gulshan DNCC kitchen market on Friday morning.
Siraj said he has been doing business in the market for the past 30 years. It was his only source of income.
Gazing at the newly built shops where the trades are expected to be relocated soon, he was counting a recovery. “After the fire, there has been nothing for me to do. I took Tk3 lakh as loan for coping with the bad time. And I have been trying to sell vegetables near the footpath of the market … I have a few fixed customers.
“But if we are relocated to the newly built space, I think, the loss could be recuperated gradually. It would take a long time to fully recover, though.”
Md Yusuf, another vegetables trader, was seen waiting at the passengers shed on the footpath beside the market around 9am, trying to sell vegetable items.
“I hope once relocated to the newly built space, I would surely be able to recover the losses incurred in the fire. I also hope that the mayor would soon open the new space for us,” he told the Dhaka Tribune.
Badsha Mia, a fish vendor, was seen to arrange some fish near the rubble of the kitchen market.
“We have been in a great misery after the devastation. I only sit here for a few hours on Fridays because no customer would come here on other days. I had two staff but I had to relieve them as there is no selling,” said Badsha.
When contacted, DNCC Kitchen Market Traders’ Association Chairman Sher Mohammad said the construction work for the kitchen market is nearly finished.
He expressed hope it will be open for the traders within a few days.
The DNCC had issued warnings before the fire incident as cracks were found in the pillars and columns of the market. An expert team of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) had also announced the building risky and recommended not using it.