A 60-year retired man had to fight his way through a crowd under the hot sun to buy onions.
He was trying to buy onions for Tk50 per kilogram from a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) truck at Khamarbari. The old man queued-up at 8am to buy onions for his eight-member family.
But after a while he realised people were cutting into the queue, so he did the same and managed to buy only 1 kg of onions for Tk50.
"The price of onions in the kitchen market is making us cry. I find it impossible to get enough onions for eight people the price is above Tk200 per kilogram. After waiting four and a half hours I got 1 kg of onions as the sale did not start on time," said the old man, Abul Khayer.
"But as the trucks are not selling more than 1 kg of onions to each person, I have to buy 1 kg more from trucks in other places because 1 kg is not going to be enough for my family," Abul explained.
He was lucky to get onions from the TCB truck because most people returned with nothing from Khamarbari.
A women said, "I came here at 10am. Everybody is cutting into the line. The truck is surrounded by a crowd. Buying onions from there requires brute force. But safety comes first. We can't sacrifice our lives for a vegetable."
People started coming to the spot from 6am today, said many local people. And people who came at 9am or 10am had to stand at the end of the queue. As nobody was following any order there was little chance for most people to get 1 kg of onions even after jostling for hours.
"The government's negligence is hurting us. Had it monitored the market, kept enough stock of onions and started importing onions from other countries just after the export ban, we would not have to suffer this way," the angry crowd told The Business Standard.
The subsidised onion price is Tk45 per kg across the city, but on Sunday, the TCB trucks were charging Tk50 per kg.
When asked about the increased price, Zia Uddin, the onion dealer of the truck in front of the TCB building said, "We have to sell onions quickly. So an extra 100-150 grams of onions went into the customers' bag. So we are taking extra money for 100gm of onions."
"Today we were told to sell just 1 kg to each customer. Even then, many people might return empty-handed because we have a limited stock," Zia explained.
Given the soaring onion prices in recent days, people were eagerly waiting in a long queue in front of the TCB building in the capital since early morning to buy onions at a subsidised price.
The TCB truck was scheduled to begin the sale from 10am on Sunday, but it did not begin on time.
Regarding the delay, TCB spokesperson Md Humayun Kabir said, "As the dealers did not pay us on time, the onion-laden trucks could not reach the points of sales on time. And failed to start selling without delay."
Humayun added that the TCB is selling onions at 35 spots in the capital, and at each spot, 1000 kg onions have been allocated for 1000 people.