The fair-price sale, organised by the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock to provide milk, eggs and meat at reasonable prices among the poor and needy of the city, turned out to be not so fair, according to many consumers.
The initiative was taken to help the impoverished people, but many well off consumers were seen standing in the queue buying more than their fair share of products from various fair-price sale points in Dhaka on Monday.
The ministry picked 10 sale points in the city for the sales that began on Sunday. However, mismanagement in the sale process has been reported by many consumers.
Some managed to buy 4-5 kg of meat from the mobile vans while many had to leave empty handed as products ran out.
As per the rules, each person standing in line could buy a maximum of 1 kg of beef or mutton, 1 kg of chicken, a dozen eggs, two litres of milk. But some were seen buying 2-3 kg meat, 5 litres of milk and 30 pieces of eggs from the Khamarbari sales centre.
As more people bought more products, the Khamarbari sales point ran out of meat by 12pm and milk and eggs by 12:45pm, leaving 12 buyers still standing in the queue.
On the opening day of the sale, Dr Monjur Mohammad Shahjada, director general of the Department of Livestock Services, told The Business Standard that the initiative was taken mainly for the poor and the needy.
Nurul Amin, a consumer, told TBS, "I came to buy the products yesterday but the sale was over by then. I couldn't even buy meat after standing in line at 11:30am today. They ran out of meat around 12pm."
If those who have money buy 2-3 kg of meat then we would not be able to buy any, he said.
One person was seen buying 3kg of beef citing the name of a secretary. However, he did not mention which ministry the secretary belongs to.
When asked, salesman Mohammad Robin, told TBS, "Look, a man came and took 3kg of meat in the name of a secretary. What can we do here?"
Another consumer Liakat Ali bought 2kg of meat, 5 litres of milk, and 30 eggs. He told TBS, "My home is in Mirpur's Kazipara area. I noticed the sale point while riding my motorbike and bought some necessary items."
Another customer Jahid Hasan said it is not possible for him to buy meat as the price is high in the market. "After waiting in line for 45 minutes, I was able to buy some products. I asked for 1 kg of chicken, but got half a kg. But I got 2 litres of milk," he said.
Jahid said there was noticeable mismanagement in the sale, otherwise, it should not end so early.
Primarily, 10 spots have been selected for the sale– Abdul Gani Road, Khamarbari roundabout, Japan Garden City, Mirpur 60 feet road, Azimpur Maternity, Nayabazar at Old Dhaka, Arambag, Notun Bazar, Kalshi, and Jatrabari.
In the mobile vans, the price of 1 litre pasteurised milk has been fixed at Tk60, beef at Tk550, mutton at Tk800, dressed broiler chicken at Tk200 per kg and four eggs at Tk30.
The sales will continue from 10am to 5pm till 28 Ramadan.
However, sales at two points- Japan City Garden and Jatrabari- were suspended on Monday due to issues with the vehicles.
Sanowar Hossain, supervisor of the Khamarbari sale point, said some 100 kg of beef, 20 kg of mutton, 100 kg of chicken, 1500 pieces of eggs and 200 litres of milk were brought in today.
However, the beef was sold quickly as there was a huge crowd at the beginning. People who came from far away were given 2kg of meat instead of the usual amount.