In contrast, capitalising on the closure of all the shops, retail chains and online grocery and product providers such as Shwapno, Meena Bazar, Chaldal, Ek-Shop and others are doing good business. They are selling products at high prices, complained local traders
The ongoing lockdown, enforced in the capital's East Rajabazar and flagged as a red zone to rein in coronavirus transmission, is biting local traders hard, forcing many of them to spend from their capital to make ends meet.
Small traders in the neighbourhood have been hit the hardest.
In contrast, capitalising on the closure of all the shops, retail chains and online grocery and product providers such as Shwapno, Meena Bazar, Chaldal, Ek-Shop and others are doing good business. They are selling products at high prices, complained local traders.
But if grocers and other shopkeepers in the area had the opportunity to do business, they would not have faced this crisis.
There are 35 small- and medium-sized grocery stores in the East Rajabazar area. Besides, the number of different other shops, including those which provide mobile banking services, is about 50. All the shops have remained closed since the first day of the lockdown.
Samsul Haque, owner of a local small grocery store, said his shop used to sell goods worth Tk10,000 to Tk15,000 a day. But now, he has been left with zero income. He has not received any assistance from the city corporation.
On condition of anonymity, a shopkeeper said before the coronavirus hit, his daily sales were more than Tk50,000. But his sales had come down to Tk30-35 thousand because of running it on a limited scale during the 66-day general holiday. Now, he has no income with the shop being shut for the lockdown.
"As far as I know, no traders in the area have received any relief from the city corporation yet," he added.
Masud Hossain Suman, a convener of volunteers in the locked-down area, said they have their control room numbers. So whenever anyone requires relief, they contact them and provide them with relief. They have so far distributed relief among 3,500 families, going door-to-door, he added.
The only kitchen market in East Rajabazar also remains closed at this time of the lockdown.
Besides, before the lockdown, many vendors would sell daily essentials, from vegetables, fish and fruits, on rickshaw vans in the neighbourhood. But their businesses had also been closed since the beginning of the lockdown.
However, a few of them have been allowed to sell vegetables, fish and boiler chicken on vans since about a week ago.
While talking to this correspondent, the vendors said they were going through a very tough time with no earnings since the enforcement of the lockdown. Though now they have got the opportunity to run their mobile shops, their sales are not enough.
Residents at East Rajabazar have to buy most daily essentials at high prices as in other markets in Dhaka.
Broiler chickens are being sold at Tk160-175 outside, but at Tk160 in the area. Competition among the retail chain shops and local vendors has reduced the prices of some products, including beef and fish, according to locals.
As the shops which provide mobile financial services are closed now, on the one hand, the shopkeepers are struggling to earn a living, and on the other hand, the locals are also having trouble withdrawing money.
Nasir Hossain, owner of such a shop, said he runs his family with the earnings from the shop which is now closed. It will be difficult for him to pay his house rent next month.
Arifur Rahman, a resident of East Rajabazar, said, "Since there is no bank booth in the locked-down area and all shops that used to provide bKash, rocket and other mobile financing services are closed, we are having trouble getting money," he said.
"The volunteers are doing everything they can. But we need bank booths or shops that provide money transaction services," he added.