Footpath stalls draw huge Eid shoppers

Most of the busy areas in the capital, including Motijheel, Farmgate, Mirpur section 10, Nilkhet and Gulistan are flooded with makeshift stalls, set up by temporary hawkers ahead of the biggest religious festival Eid-ul-Fitr. Almost all sorts of daily essentials including garments, crockery, spices, groceries, fruits, stationeries, fish, chicken, green vegetables, beaten rice, molasses, puffed rice, juice powder etc are available at the footpath shops at comparatively lower prices.

Sources said, more than Tk 100 crore in selling and buying takes place at various footpath markets every day. According to unofficial data, near about 4,000 stalls have been set up at Motijheel while in Farmgate area, side by side regular stalls, more than 2,000, from Shewrapara to Mirpur circle 10 more than 2000 new stalls, about 2,500 stalls at Gulistan, and more 3,000 stalls around Nilkhet, Kataban and Dhaka College areas.

Mainly the lower income segment of people purchases necessary items from footpath shops as they have no ability to go to shopping malls due to financial constraints. Near about 5 to 7 thousand working class people from rural parts of the country come to Dhaka during the month of Ramadan to do business setting up temporary shops on roadsides in busy areas, investing petty amount of capitals, an account said.

These seasonal traders set up their stalls only targeting the Eid, and become successful in earning a handsome profit. Stall owners have to pay some tolls to local hoodlums and the law enforcers for getting the opportunity to set up their shops. Seeking anonymity some vendors told this correspondent that despite prohibition they are being allowed to open their stalls after bribing either local hooligans or Patrol Police on a regular basis.

On an average, they have to pay Tk 70 to 100 for each stall a day. Meanwhile, police sources said, although opening shops on the roadside is totally illegal and prohibited, they are relaxed ahead of the biggest religious festival of the Muslim community, Eid-ul-Fitr, and also giving the lower income segment of people the opportunity to shop at reasonable costs at footpath stalls.

Talking to this correspondent, Shahidul Islam Khan, a private service holder, in Motijheel area on Sunday said, every year during the month of Ramadan, the total Motijheel area becomes flooded with various types of temporary shops. He said the 3rd, 4th class employees of various government and private offices side by side many poor people can do their Eid shopping from these stalls at cheap rate.

Rafiqul Alam, owner of a garments shop near Agrani Bank head office said, he has made a capital of Tk. 30,000 taking loan from an NGO and invested it to open his shop. "On an average my selling is about Tk 5 to 7 thousand each day from which I can earn profit of about Tk 1,000 after meeting the expenses", Rafiq said.