OMS halt worries port city residents
The open market sale (OMS) service of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has brought much relief to the low- and lower-middle income groups in the port city recently, as prices of daily essentials, especially soybean oil, have shot up in retail market.
But with the service scheduled to end today, residents are now worried about how they would manage their meals.
TCB started open market sale (OMS) in port city on June 6. The service is usually offered for a set amount of days.
The OMS has been operating at a total of 21 spots, including Jamal Khan Road, Anderkillah, Dewan Bazar, Chawkbazar, Alkaran, New Market intersection, Kotwali intersection, Muradpur, Chandgaon, Steel Mill Bazar, CEPZ intersection, Bibirhat, Alankar, North Kattoli and Halishahar.
Each kilogramme of daily essentials, including lentils, sugar and edible oil, is being sold for Tk 10-15 cheaper than at shops.
Rickshaw-puller Tobarak was seen in queue near an OMS truck at Dewan Bazar area yesterday. He said he bought lentils, sugar and soybean oil.
"A kilo of lentils is being sold at Tk 80 in the market, while sugar goes for Tk 70. Here, I get both at Tk 55 per kg," he said. "A litre of soybean oil is normally sold at Tk 145, but here I got it for Tk 100."
"The price hike of daily essentials has made our lives difficult. I've heard that OMS would close from tomorrow [today]. How would we live? I request the government to continue it for the sake of poor people like us," said Tobarak.
Many people standing in line said their main target was to buy soybean oil for cheaper.
"The price of soybean oil is increasing like crazy. I used to buy a litre at Tk 95 even in March, but now it has gone up to Tk 145," said Tanmoy Paul, who was standing in line.
Tanmoy alleged that he wanted to only buy oil, but the salespeople forced him to buy lentils and sugar too.
"The salespeople said they were selling a package comprising oil, lentils and sugar. If I don't buy the other two items, I wouldn't get the oil," he said.
As the price of edible oil has shot up, not only the poor, but many from the middle-income group were also seen in line near the truck.
Schoolteacher Ahsanul Haque said as he found the OMS truck on his way back home, he decided to stand in the queue to buy soybean oil, but echoed Tanmoy's complaints.
Asked, a salesperson -- wishing not to be named -- said the dealer instructed them not to sell soybean oil unless customers bought lentils and sugar. He declined to mention the dealer's name, nor did he provide their phone number.
The same situation was observed at Jamal Khan Road and New Market areas. However, OMS trucks were not found in many areas, including Chawkbazar, Anderkillah, Muradpur and Bibirhat yesterday.
Contacted, Jamal Uddin Ahmed, TCB regional head at Chattogram, said although OMS service would stop today, it will resume in the near future.
Asked about customers' allegations, he said all dealers were strictly instructed to not sell packages of multiple goods.
"We instructed dealers to sell any item available in the truck. But I received complaints from customers that in many areas, dealers were selling three items as a package. Many customers are being refused if they want to buy individual items," he said.
"We are looking into the issue."
"If the allegation is found to be true, we will cancel their dealership," he added.