Amid a slump in sales in the capital's kitchen markets, buyers on Wednesday crowded the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh's (TCB) points of sale to buy daily essentials.
The TCB has started selling soybean oil, lentil and sugar at 50 points of sale in the capital ahead of Ramadan.
Soybean oil, which was selling for Tk80 per litre, and lentil, Tk50 per kg, drew the most customers who queued to buy the products.
Aminul Islam, a resident of west Rajabazar, was in the queue at the TCB's Panthapath point of sale.
He said he could save Tk30 per litre if he bought soybean oil from the TCB.
It is very convenient to buy products at a lower price during the coronavirus crisis as we can save some money, Aminul told The Business Standard.
People from different sections of society were waiting in the queue at the Khamar Bari intersection since morning.
Sales representative of this point of sale Monir Hossain said a lot of people were buying products.
Every year, the TCB starts selling essential items around a week before Ramadan.
But this year it had started earlier because of the coronavirus situation, which has caused many stores to close.
The stores that are still open are doing business for a limited period.
The TCB said it was selling the daily essential items earlier than the usual schedule this year so that the coronavirus could not result in a crisis.
It said it would start selling gram and dates a few days before Ramadan.
People recently went on a shopping spree to hoard daily essentials in the wake of the spread of coronavirus in the country, causing prices to increase.
After the government announced the 10-day shutdown, many city dwellers travelled to their hometowns.
Those who are still here have mostly preferred staying indoors in compliance with the government directive.
The kitchen markets thus saw a decrease in the number of customers, and prices, mostly of vegetables, went down.
Most of the vegetables were selling for Tk30-40 per kg.
There was adequate supply of meat and fish, but sale was low.
The TCB is selling products at 350 points of sale across the country.
Each consumer can buy five litres of oil, four kilogrammes of sugar and two kilogrammes of lentil from a point of sale.