All traders of Dhaka North City Corporation kitchen and super market are now finding ways to recoup their loss in the fire that gutted their shops and goods entirely on March 30 daybreak.
Losing their means of livelihood twice, once in 2017; they are now waiting for bleaker days ahead.“Six of my shops; 49, 52, 98, 99, 100 and 107 at the kitchen market along with all goods and cash stored I there were burnt to ashes. It is like all my hopes have burnt into ashes,” Md Anwar Hossain Talukdar said, standing before the ashes of his shops at Gulshan-1 kithcen market.
Md Anwar who lives in the captial’s Shahjadpur with wife and two siblings, ran the groceries along with his three brothers in share.
He said his brothers incurred loss of around Tk1.50 crore due to the devastating fire.
“I was just on the process of getting over the economic blow of the fire in 2017 that left me almost bankrupt losing all my trade to blaze. I am yet to repay the loan I borrowed after 2017 fire incident to resume my business.”
All of my documents have also been gutted into the fire, he added.
“The loss will impact my daily life as lenders will haunt me for their money…..I have no way other than living on the streets right now,” he said.“But I have to find ways to return to business and earn livelihood for my family members as well as my ailing elder brothers.’’
Anwar said he heard businessman will be given Tk10,000 while renters and staff members 30kg rice per shop by the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief.
“I cannot put much trust in the government as we did not get aid after 2017 fire.”
Md Parez who lost all of three shops named Gulshan Chicken House, Ma Enterprise and Khokon Enterprise said, “I have incurred a loss of around Tk1.5 crore and I have no option other than leaving the business.”
He also asked for their rehabilitation by the government and DNCC.
Like him spice trader Md Younus, owner of Nahida Varieties, Monir Hossain, chicken trader, Mizan and other small traders who incurred a loss between Tk5 lakh and Tk 20 lakh are seized by worries as to how they would recover their loss.
They are all waiting for the moment when they can make a comeback to their business.
Talking to this correspondent, president of Gulshan-1 DNCC Kitchen and Super Market Businessmen Co-operative Ltd Din Mohammad said, “We have two specific demands. One is to reconstruct the market for quick rehabilitation by DNCC, or else we will do on our own. We are also asking for compensation.”
But the DNCC authority seems to send a lukewarm response to the demand.
“If we are not given permission, we will sit on open space in front of the market,” said the trader leader.
The assistance was provided by the Disaster Management and Relief Ministry is very petty in terms of their losses. So far, the ministry provided Tk 10,000 to businessmen while a 30Kg rice for renters and staff members each, he said.
He added that the 211 shops gutted by the fire had 500-600 staff.
Din Mohammad said only 100 of 211 affected people have got assistance from the ministry. DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam could not be found for comments despite the repeated phone calls by the correspondent.
Dhaka North City Corporation on Saturday formed an investigation committee to identify the reasons for fire, assess the amount of loss and provide suggestions to rebuild the DNCC kitchen market.
The committee headed by DNCC chief engineer had been asked to submit its report within the next five working days. DNCC market Scenario
The large market now wears the look of a big dumping ground.
Locals and traders said the burnt objects and goods are spreading foul smell causing nausea and breathing problem but no effort is yet in sight by the DNCC waste management department.
During a visit to the area, the correspondent found that traders of the market have laid out their half-burnt goods in the open space in front of the market and are selling them to rag pickers.
Talking to the correspondent, an affected trader Md Mizanur Rahman who had shop—Miazan Chicken House—said many traders sold the half-burnt goods to rag pickers.
DNCC Market Traders Association installed a makeshift booth to distribute forms to traders to be filled by them for loss assessment.
A booth of police is also seen on the spot.