People wait in long queues as TCB begins to sell potatoes amid price hike

Consumers lined up in long queues on Wednesday to buy potatoes at Tk 25 per kg from the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh or TCB outlets set up in different locations of Dhaka amid the spiralling prices of the daily staple.

People looking to buy TCB potatoes at a fair price on the first day of the open-market sale or OMS faced trouble as the suppliers had fewer potatoes than what was in demand.

Potato joins a list of other staples, including oil, sugar, lentil and onions, which are being sold at open markets following an unusual hike in their prices at the end of the season.

On Wednesday, people were seen waiting in line sometimes under the scorching sun and under umbrellas during showers at other times.

No TCB trucks could be seen at their designated places in Mohakhali, Saatrasta, Polashi or Azimpur areas. According to local shopkeepers, they did not arrive for distribution on Wednesday.

Mahmud Shafiullah, a pensioner waiting in a line, said, “I’ve never bought goods from TCB trucks. I entered the line upon hearing that they were also selling potatoes. But it’s been two hours and now I’m worried whether I will get any.”

‘Shamim’, one of those who were distributing, pointed out that though they had not seen too many people until then, the addition of potatoes ‘drew a huge crowd’.  Packaging all the products, barring oil, was taking up extra time and causing hold ups.

Potatoes are currently being retailed at Tk 45-50 per kg, though it was being sold at Tk 30 per kg at this time in previous years.

The TCB trucks are selling potatoes for Tk 25 per kg. Each customer is eligible for 2 kgs of potatoes at a time.