Traders and businessmen in Chattogram's Khatunganj wholesale market fear loss of Tk50 crore due to water entering shops and warehouses due to the high tidal waves caused by cyclonic storm Sitrang.
Many shops and warehouses in the Chaktai-Khatunganj area were found waterlogged on Tuesday (25 October) morning.
Khatunganj Trade and Industries Association Organising Secretary Jamal Hossain said that most of the shops and warehouses in the market have suffered losses of at least half a lakh to eight-ten lakh taka due to the effect of the cyclone.
"There is so much stock in the warehouses that it is not possible to move them even at day's notice. So traders couldn't do anything," he said.
Mohammad Idrees, the owner of Bacha Mia Traders in the wholesale market, said that since 10:30 pm last night, the tidal water entered and hundreds of sacks of products in the shop have been wet.
"Being raw products, these products will rot very quickly. There is a possibility of a loss of at least Tk5-7 lakh," he added.
"After hearing the news of the cyclone, he arranged to raise the sacks of goods under the stack with bricks and wood. But the water level was so high that inside the shop there would be at least knee-deep water. As the tide came in at night, there was no scope to move the goods anywhere at that time," he added.
Not only Bacha Mia Trading, but also Hamidullah Market and every raw produce shop and warehouse in the vicinity got flooded.
In the morning, in front of Khatunganj's commissioner street, it was seen that the employees were trying to get water out of spice shops on both sides of the road.
Among them, stacks of spices including chili, turmeric, and coriander were seen soaked in water.
"I was cautious about the cyclone. So on Monday, I put up a wall in front of the shop. But at night, the wall fell and water entered the shop. Within an hour, the shop was filled with water. About three to four hundred sacks of different spices and commodities got wet. I am working to dry these products by stopping the sales this morning," said a trader named Haradhan Nag.
SM Arifuzzaman, the owner of Zaman Enterprises in Asadganj, said that many products were stocked in warehouses and there was no scope to move the product even if the tidewater is coming in.
"Moreover, most of this huge market deals in consumer goods. Which get easily spoiled," he said adding that one store of consumer goods has thousands of bags of goods in stock.
Chattogram Chamber of Commerce and Industry Director Syed Sagir Ahmad said that the amount of product damage and loss due to tidal water entering the market has been increasing year by year.
"The construction of sluice gates at the entrances of the respective canals of the market has been going on for a long time, but it is still not operational. Due to the impact of the cyclone and tidal waters, at least half a hundred crore taka worth of goods were lost again on Monday night," he added.
Traders said that every road in Chaktai area, Middle Chaktai, New Chaktai, Char Chaktai, Old Chaktai, Maqbul Saudagar Road, Asadganj was submerged from 10:30pm Monday till 1:30am Tuesday.
Raw produce selling Hamidullah Market in Khatunganj had been most affected by the tidal waves.
Mohammad Lokman, a businessman, said that there was almost waist-deep water in the entire market from 10:00 pm to 1:00 am.
Apart from this, most of the markets including Chandmia Goli, Ilyach Market, Badsha Market, Sona Mia Market, Nabi Market, Malla Market, Chaktai Naya Mosque, Drum Patti, Chal Patti Patti and Ejaz Market are flooded.
Meanwhile, under the influence of the cyclone, the lower areas of Chattogram city, especially Agrabad, CDA Residential, Shantabagh, Halishahar, Chhotapul, Chawkbazar, Baklia, Katalganj among other places were submerged in knee-deep water in the night.