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Dhaka Tribune

Dates elude many as TCB goods sold out in two hours

Like Lalbanu, many others also returned not getting their desired goods from the TCB truck-outlet

Update : 06 May 2019, 09:47 PM

Lalbanu, a housewife from the capital’s Basabo area, came to Abdul Gani Road with the hope of buying a kilogram of dates and other essential goods sold at cheaper prices from the outlet of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) on the occasion of Ramadan.

But she returned purchasing only sugar and edible oil from the TCB outlet set on a truck, without being able to avail the date. 

“I am here for the first time having come a long way to buy some commodities, hearing about lower prices of TCB goods,” the 45-year-old woman said while talking to this correspondent in front of the outlet.

“But I did not get the dates, which I mainly wanted,” she said, adding that the salesman told her that the date was sold out in the first hour of opening the outlet.

Like Lalbanu, many others also returned not getting their desired goods from the TCB truck-outlet. 

The TCB started selling five essential commodities — dates, sugar, chickpea, edible oil and lentils — from 35 trucks at different points in the capital on April 23 through several dealers. 

Besides, 152 more trucks are selling the goods in divisional and district towns across the country.

Every year, the TCB sells the essential commodities at subsidized prices before Ramadan to provide the limited income group of people with the goods at affordable rates.

At the outlets 

During visits to several outlets in the capital, the Dhaka Tribune has found long queues of people in front of the TCB trucks. 

In the first one hour, they could buy all the commodities but later on, majority of the goods were sold out and many buyers had to return empty-handed.   

Talking to this correspondent, people, who came to buy the goods, claimed that dates were hard to find even in the first hour while other goods were available for two to three hours.

Kayum Talukder, a private job holder, said that he came three days to Malibagh Bazar Point for purchasing the goods.

“On the first day, I could buy only oil and sugar, on the second day chickpea and lentils and today I have got the dates,” he said.

“We can buy it from anywhere, but have come here as it is cheaper here,” he said, adding that saving one taka meant much to the limited income class.

Rashedul Islam, a small trader from Khilgaon area, said he had wanted to purchase the five items and came to Taltola Bazar point at 12:00pm but found only oil and sugar available.

He said TCB should increase the amounts of the goods allocated for each truck. “Besides, the outlets in the capital are very small in number,” he said, demanding that the number should be increased to meet the huge demand.

According to the TCB, each truck gets 400-500kg sugar, 300-400kg lentils, 400-500 liter soybean oil, 300-400kg chickpea and only 30-50kg dates every day.  

A customer can buy maximum 4 kg of sugar at the price of Tk47 per kg, 4 kg of lentils at Tk44, 5 kg of soybean oil at Tk85, 4 kg of lentils at Tk60 and one kg of date at Tk135.

Dealers of the trucks said they had nothing to do for the people who could not get the essentials as TCB allocated a limited amount of goods for them.

Rabi Alam, dealer of Malibag point, said: "We got only 50kg of date, which was totally insufficient."

“The dates sell out within an hour but people are looking for it throughout the day. Besides, chickpea, lentils have also huge demand and are also sold out within two or three hours,” he added.

“But we have to remain at the spot till 5:00pm as per instruction of the TCB,” said, Asaduzzaman, another dealer, adding that government should increase allocations to continue the sales till the last time.

Humayun Kabir, spokesman at TCB, said that it was impossible to sell the goods to all as the subsidized goods were introduced to help the limited income class.

“We increased allocations for each truck from what it was in previous years,” he said, adding that this year they increased the number of outlets in the capital.

Urging the people, who missed the trucks, to buy from TCB’s regular dealers, he said there were some 400 permanent dealers in Dhaka selling the essential goods as well.

A number of 2,827 permanent dealers and 10 retail sales centers of TCB were selling the essential goods, apart from the 187 trucks across the country, TCB said.

The state-run organization, through a circular, said the sales, which started on April 23, would continue until the next order.

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