The traders are trying to temporarily repair the market with their own money to try to restart business ahead of Ramadan
Twenty days after the fire incident that gutted around 291 kitchen shops of the DNCC kitchen market, traders have started selling products in the remnants of what was once a bustling market.
With Ramadan just around the corner, they are selling what they managed to salvage or buy with borrowed money, amid the rubble and remains of their shops.
This reporter visited the devastated market and saw people doing repair work on one side, and selling goods on the other side of several fire-ravaged shops.
Shafiqul Islam, owner of four shops gutted in the fire, was found sitting in one of his burned down stores. He was displaying products like milk, coffee, peanuts, and imported biscuits. On one side of the shop, he was attempting to sell his goods while piling dust and burned wood on the other side.
He said: "My father set up shop here in 1966. But he never had to face such fire incidents. We lost a combined total of goods worth over Tk5 crore in this fire and another that broke out in 2017."
A massive fire broke out in Gulshan 1 DNCC market around 2:30am in January 2017. The fire caused a building of the kitchen market to collapse and left several other shops completely damaged in another building of the market. On March 30 this year the same market was left devastated by an unforgiving blaze.
"We sell a lot throughout the month of Ramadan and during Eid. But all my products have been burnt and I do not have much to sell. I bought some products with Tk3 lakh. I borrowed the money to restart my business. I do not know what else to do," Shafiqul added.
Shahabuddin is another shop owner at the Gulshan DNCC market. Before the recent fire, he used to sell electronics items, watches, and mobile accessories. But now he is selling ladies shoes.
He said: "All my products were completely destroyed. I lost goods worth Tk15 lakh and Tk55,000 in cash.
He said he had the shoes stored in another shop and so they were not lost in the fire.
"I have no money to buy new products. But with Shab-e-Barat, Ramadan, and Eid-ul-Fitr so close, I have to sell what I can," he said.
Ekramul Haq Rumel Basar, owner of five vegetable shops, said he is trying to attract customers and make whatever sales he can.
"But we do not get customers at all, even with the upcoming Ramadan and Eid. The customers know that all the shops were completely destroyed and have not been rebuilt yet, so no one is coming to shop here."
The Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief Minister has given Tk10,000 to each shopkeeper but traders are yet to get any aid from DNCC.
DNCC Kacha and Super Market Committee Chairman, Deen Mohammad, said: "The DNCC mayor has assured us that traders will be compensated, but we have not gotten anything from them yet.
"A total of Tk150 crore has been lost in this incident. After losing everything, businessmen are about to lose their minds," he added.
He said traders have taken the initiative to temporarily repair the market with their own money.
"Traders have raised Tk30 lakh to make temporary repairs so they can restart their businesses ahead of Eid. We have already started repairing some shops," he said.