‘Manabatar Bazar’ relaunched as mobile market | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 10, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:38 AM, May 10, 2021

‘Manabatar Bazar’ relaunched as mobile market

A day after vowing to continue their relief work in alternative ways, after being refused a venue for their popular food-aid initiative -- a free kitchen market called "Manabatar Bazar" --, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) relaunched a mobile variant of the initiative yesterday in Barishal city.

"Manabatar Bazar" will now roam around the city handing over essential food items to the poor amid the pandemic, said organisers.

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On Saturday at a press conference at the party office in the city, BSD alleged that vested quarters were obstructing their relief works.

"We are victims of a nefarious conspiracy. We are not allowed to use any venue to distribute relief from," BSD convener Imran Habib Rumon said. "We have been forced to turn the 'Manabatar Bazar' into a mobile market."

"At scheduled times, the vans will take the free mobile market to different spots of the city," he said.

At 11 in the morning yesterday, the mobile market began its day. Packed atop eight rickshaw-vans, it started by visiting the Ashwini Kumar Hall area and distributed food items there.

A total of 11 items including semai, rice, pulses, flour, oil, salt, and various vegetables are being provided from the market free of cost, said BSD member secretary Dr Manisha Chakraborty.

"No obstacle can stand in our way when it comes to helping people in need during such a dire time," she added.

Talking to this correspondent, Khaleda Begum, a resident of Khaledabad slum in Alekanda area, said she has collected necessary food items from the market when a van visited the area.

"My family of five has been facing a shortage of food items since the recent 'lockdown' hit. The food I took from the mobile market will help me sustain till the Eid," she said.

Initially launched during the early days of the pandemic in April 12 last year, the free kitchen market operated from Fakir Bari's Matrichhaya Kindergarten, near BSD's party office.

After running for a while, the initiative was closed down late last year.

As infections from Covid-19 started to rise in March this year, the organisation planned to reopen the market, this time choosing Hospital Road's Amrita Lal Dey College as its venue, to help the poor.

However, after being allowed to use the college premises, its authorities revoked permit for the market, which prompted BSD to look elsewhere.

But after a few more venues turning them down, all citing unnamed political pressure as reason, the organisation called for the press briefing on Saturday and pointed fingers at vested quarters that might be dragging on "political rivalry to create a conspiracy to stop relief work".

Organisers said they have helped around 20,000 families in the past one year, and vowed to continue these humanitarian activities this year too.  

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