‘One-minute market’ programme initiated by the 24 infantry division in Chattogram was aimed at facilitating fair price to the marginalised farmers and to distribute vegetable among the financially weak families, army officials said on Sunday.
The officials in Chattogram said that the one-minute marker involved buying vegetable directly from the growers from remote areas who had no access to wholesale markets anymore due to the nationwide shutdown since March 26.
‘We want to facilitate the financially weak people with vegetables which are now costly in the local markets,’ said Bangladesh Army's 34 Engineering Construction Brigade's director general Brigadier General Ahmed Tanvir Mazhar Siddiqui.
He however pointed out that this was not part of relief distribution work, rather a service to the people.
Brigadier General Tanvir said the army chief General Aziz Ahmed wanted to facilitate the growers who have been facing huge losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
About the fund, Tanvir said donations from many people were accepted to buy vegetables at fair prices.
After their success in establishing such ad-hoc markets in Chattogram, Rangamati, Bandarban and Ali Kadam, the army authorities are now set to try out similar programmes in Raipura of Narsingdi, among other places.
Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah Ibn Zaid, director at the inter-services public relations, said that the one-minute market would be opened at Raipura today.
The one-minute market was first set up at the Jamiatul Falah Mosque grounds for an hour on May 13 and one thousand listed people from the surrounding areas visited the market and took home the vegetables and products of their choice free of cost.
In Chattogram, the vegetables were sourced from the farmers of Satkania, Lohagara, Sitakunda, Raozan and other upazilas at a fair price.
‘It is called one-minute market as people here will spend minimum time to select vegetables maintaining physical distancing,’ said Tanvir.
On the very first occasion, some 1,000 people in Chattogram were asked to attend, he added.
The authorities first collect contact details of the vulnerable people and organise a venue and then fix a time for a particular locality, the officials said.
The officials added that in Rangamati, one-minute market opened on Friday morning where nine types of vegetables were made available to the shoppers while similar market would also be opened in Kaptai and Naniachar soon, said.
Roksana Akhter, 40, who visited the market in Chattogram, while speaking to the media said, ‘Such an initiative brought happiness to my family,’ and added that in the last one and a half months she had been going through hard times as her transport worker husband's income came down to zero.
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