The state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) on Tuesday began selling essential commodities at subsidised prices to one crore low-income families having state-provided cards across the country.
"Sugar, lentil, soybean oil and onion will be sold in fixed quantities at fixed prices," Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi said on the day while inaugurating the month-long sales at the capital's Mohammadpur.
He, however, said in order to maintain discipline in the sales, the products are being sold nationwide from designated shops or establishments through appointed dealers, instead of trucks.
The minister warned that action will be taken against anyone found responsible for irregularity or manipulation in the sale.
Under the new programme, a person with a family card can purchase a maximum of two litres of soybean oil, two kilogrammes of lentils, one kg of sugar and two kg of onions from designated sale points. The items do not include rice.
A litre of soybean oil is being sold at Tk110, one kg of sugar at Tk55, lentils at Tk65, and onions at Tk20. Onions will be sold only in the city corporation areas and TCB regional office-affiliated districts.
On Tuesday, cardholders were seen standing in line to buy products at several shops in the capital.
Mohammad Rafiqul Islam, a TCB dealer in Mohammadpur's Babar Road area, told The Business Standard (TBS) that he has brought products for 1,000 families.
"The cards were already distributed, so the products are being sold orderly," he said.
Mallika Begum, a resident of Mohammadpur, said a family can survive for six to seven days with the products that can be bought from the TCB.
"It would be better if the quantity of the products were a bit more," she said, adding that it would be helpful if she could buy one month's worth of products at once.
Another beneficiary of the programme, Shahadat Hossain, a resident of Shegunbagicha, said it would have been better if rice was included in the items.