Monday, 23 May, 2022

OMS of Essential Commodities

Low-income people crowd TCB trucks

Low-income people crowd TCB trucks
Low-income people jostle for purchasing essential items at an OMS centre in the city’s Topkhana area on Monday. —Md nasir uddin

In the wake of skyrocketing prices of essentials, the open market sale (OMS) of goods by the Trading Corporation Bangladesh (TCB) at subsidised prices has brought some relief for the lower -and middle-income people in the capital.

They, in their hundreds, regularly throng TCB goods-carrying trucks at different points of the capital to get their commodities at lower prices, terming the trucks their trusted or dependable places for daily necessities.

Standing in long queues for hours from morning to evening every day, people belonging to the lower- and middle-income groups – males, females, elderly and teenagers -- are taking buying goods, including oil, pulse and onion, from the TCB trucks. 

A good number of TCB trucks were seen parked at different strategic points of the capital, including Segunbagicha, Mugda Biswa Road, Jatiya Press Club, Madhya Badda and Natunbazar, on Monday noon. A huge number of people were also seen taking the TCB goods from the trucks at subsidised prices.

Simultaneously, many others were also seen returning empty-handed even after standing in long lines for hours as the goods are less than the demand.

Rahima Begum, 50, who was waiting in a queue in front of Mugda Medical College Hospital to buy essentials from a TCB truck, said, "I’ve been waiting in the line since morning with a hope to buy goods."

“Although it’s now 2:00pm, there’s no sign of the truck coming. I don't even know when it’ll arrive. It may come after Asr prayers. Let's stand here and see if we can take the products,” she said.    Goods in the TCB trucks are much less than the demand and that is why many people cannot buy products even after standing in queues for hours, Rahima said.

“Prices of daily essentials have increased so much that it’s become difficult for me to run my family with my income. Besides, expenses of my children’s education have gone up. I can save some money if I buy TCB goods,” said Abdur Rahim, an employee of a private firm.

Thousands of people wait for hours in queues every day to buy goods from the TCB dealers at 52 points in the capital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The retail prices of daily essentials have gone beyond control in the capital’s kitchen markets even though the Covid-19 lockdown is not in force, causing sufferings for the lower- and middle-income people.

Ahmed Ali, an officer at a private bank who came to Karwan Bazar wholesale market, said the authorities should control the market immediately as the prices of most products are going out of control.

Although winter vegetables have arrived in the market in plenty, their prices still remained high.

Officials said the abnormal rise in prices of daily necessities has made it difficult for many families to make ends meet. The prices of many products are still rising. In this situation, people are rushing to buy TCB products.

At present, the price of one litre soya bean oil in the market is Tk 150-160 while a TCB truck is selling it at Tk 110 per litre, saving about Tk 120-130 for a 2-litre bottle.

It costs a consumer Tk 90-110 to buy pulses per kg. Pulses are available in TCB trucks at Tk 55 per kg. Sugar is selling at Tk 55 per kg in TCB trucks against Tk 76-80 in the market.

Each person can buy 2 litres of oil, 2 kg of pulses and 2 kg of sugar from a TCB truck. It saves him/her at least Tk 200-250.

Each truck has an allocation of up to 800 kg sugar, 600 kg lentil and 1,200 litres of soya bean oil.

According to sources, TCB is selling soya bean, lentil, sugar and onion at affordable prices across the country, including the capital, since October 6 last year.