Rickshaws, occasionally a couple of small mini covered vans, and people walking. One or two vans carrying goods are occasionally seen on the streets, but the two-wheeled carts have completely disappeared. In the rows of shops on both sides of the road, the employees are busy with mobile phones alone or in groups.
It took only 20-25 minutes to reach Islampur Cloth Market by motorbike via Urdu Road, Chawkbazar, Mitford under Babubazar Bridge to see this picture on the second day of BNP-Jamaat siege, which is almost impossible during normal times.
Talking to the idle businessmen, it is known that buyers from outside Dhaka cannot come if there is a strike-blockade. A few traders from Dhaka might come, that too with a risk. Altogether 70-80 percent sales have decreased.
Shops open under police guard, but traders are also spending time in fear.
Along with this wholesale market, the popular markets in Dhaka including New Market, Bashundhara Shopping Mall, Dhanmondi Metro Shopping Mall, Rapa Plaza, Shyamoli Square, Mouchak Market, Fortune have been visited, the markets are completely empty. Vendors say that shoppers do not go to shopping malls due to various fears, including burning cars in the blockade, due to which there are no sales.
The Dream Zone shop at Asian Plaza on Islampur Road sells wholesale threepieces. Three people including the store manager were sitting and spending time. Manager md. Javed Mahmud said, ‘80% are not sold. People won’t come here if they can’t move normally. That is what is happening, the buyers are not able to come, there is no sale.’
Abdul Latif, the manager of Luxury Fabrics, told about the same situation. He said, ‘Buyers from outside Dhaka are not able to come. That’s why there is no sale.’
It is known that there are more than 6 thousand shops in this big cloth market of Dhaka, who are mainly wholesale cloth traders. These shops have small and big factories for making clothes. A small shop and its factory have an average number of employees of at least 10 people. Adults are even more so. As such, more than 60,000 people are directly involved in the activities of this market.
whose income is now at risk. Traders are most afraid of prolonging the blockade. The traders said that the police are guarding and the shops are opening. But if there is no sale, there is little point in keeping the shop open. They believe that if this situation continues in the long term, the payment of bank loans and the payment of salaries and allowances to employees will be a challenge.
General Secretary of Islampur Cloth Merchants Association (ICMA) Naser Uddin Mollah told TBS, ‘Government is giving us protection, police is guarding us. We are also keeping the shop open. But if the buyer does not come, the product is not sold.’
He said, ‘More than 70 percent sales have decreased. It is imperative that this situation ends quickly, otherwise traders will not be able to survive. Because bank loans, employee salaries and allowances create a pressure on traders when there is no sales.’
However, although there are no buyers in the wholesale market, the presence of some buyers has been noticed in the new market. Traders said that because of winter, there is some sales in children’s clothing shops in Newmarket, Noorjahan Market. There is no sale of adult clothes outside this.
Shariful, the seller of Newmarket’s fashion collection, said, ‘Buyers cannot come only if there is a blockade. Sales drop by 60-70%. But if there is no blockade, the children’s winter clothes shops are crowded.
‘Sara’ Brand Showroom Ground Floor Bashundhara City Shopping Complex. During this period of mild winter, the sales of winter clothes and jackets fell in the brand. But on this day, it was seen that there was a cry for the buyer.
Showroom manager Tariqul Islam told TBS, ‘Compared to before the blockade, our sales have decreased by about 70%. Very few buyers are coming to the market.
Mehdi Hasan, senior salesman at Gental Park in Bashundhara, said, “Our sales have dropped by 60%.”
The same is the case with Metro Shopping Mall in Dhanmondi. During this time of the beginning of winter, many weddings are held in the country. Demand increases for sarees. Mohammad Farooq Ahmed, Manager of Blue Anchal Saree’s showroom in Bikale Market, said, ‘Sales have decreased by three-fourths due to the blockade. Usually our customers come out with their own cars. They are not venturing out to shop now. If the car breaks down.’
He said, ‘Our shop has 8 employees. Everyone is sitting, there is no buyer, there is no work.’
Businessmen say that the sale of clothes and clothes has been in a downward trend for several months due to the high prices of all types of food products and daily necessities in the market. Still, there was a trade-off. But the strike-blockade brought it down to the bottom.
Shaheen Ahmed, president of Fashion Entrepreneurs Association of Bangladesh and owner of Fashion House Anjans, said, ‘If this situation continues, many people will be burdened with debt. Uncertain how to continue business going forward. For this reason, we want the situation to be brought back to normal through political compromise.’