Business makes cautious comeback as political violence eases

  • With the political violence on the streets easing, the supply chain across the country is slowly becoming normal

Business got back its rhythm amid cautious mood as the violence eased but the political turmoil continues to deepen, according to people involved with the supply chain.

Suppliers and traders opined that supply of food grains and industrial raw materials across the country was restored but fear of return of violence still hunted them due to the rolling transport blockade and shutdowns.

“We are back to business,” said Rustom Ali Khan, general secretary of Bangladesh Truck and Covered Van Owners’ Association.

But some stray incidents still happened, which scares us, he said.

Transport cost also fell compared to before and during political violence, as demand for vehicles declined due to the ongoing lean season for exports, he said.

About compensation announced by the government for vehicles damaged in arson or vandalism during blockade and hartals, he said this compensation only covers 25% of their losses.

After weeks of deadly arson attacks by anti-government protesters enforcing transport blockade, commercial vehicles have slowly begun to return to the streets and highways due to strong monitoring of law-enforcing agencies.

Three months of the widespread violence across the country has left at least 118 people dead, extended a stranglehold on the economy and cost the country thousands of crores.

The transport blockade called by the BNP-led 20-party alliance demanding a neutrally administered national election has continued non-stop for the past three months.

“Trucks loaded with vegetables are now plying as like as before,” said a vegetable trader Mohammad Abdar from Chuadanga district.

“At least 10 to 12 trucks left Dhaka tonight, which is quite normal in this period. The number will increase when new crops in summer season will be harvested,” he added.

A factory owner said: “A couple of our production sites are located out of the city. Our supply chain remains unaffected throughout the week but we are closely watching the situation.”

Abdul Matin, a trader in the city’s Karwan Bazar, said around 500 trucks were now entering the Karwan Bazar wholesale market every day. The number dropped to below 200 just one month ago.

“Vehicles, of which 60% from the northern districts, are coming here from across the county,” said Matin who belongs to North Karwan Bazar Beboshayi And Jono Kollyan Samity, a platform of the local traders.

At present the fare of a truck carrying goods from Dinajpur to Dhaka ranges between Tk12,000 and Tk14,000, which was over Tk 25,000 several days back, according to him.

Nizam Uddin, a trader in the city’s Badamtoli wholesale rice market said goods-carrying trucks are now available in the city.

“But businesses affected by the blockade is yet to recover losses,” said Nizam, also general secretary of Badamtoli Chal Aratdar Malik Samity, an association of rice wholesalers.

“We are still afraid of political violence.”

Nizam said the farmers have badly been affected by the blockade as they failed to ship their produces to the capital and other places of the country as the transportation cost soared.

He also said rice import from India was an additional pain for the farmers.

Source: Dhaka Tribune

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