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Brisk business on Sylhet footpaths

dfPeople, particularly from low-income group, swarm to the roadside makeshift shops in the Sylhet as Eid shopping gains momentum ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr festival.

Sale at the footpath shops has reached its peak in the capital. Most of the footpaths in the busy areas have been filled with makeshift shops, targeting Eid shoppers.

Small vendors have occupied most of the footpaths in Bandar Bazar, near Zilla Parishad, Zindabazar, Ambarkhana, Mirabazar, Station road, New Railway Station, Babnamour, Nayashorok areas for making brisk business during the Eid shopping frenzy.

During a visit to different areas in the capital, it has been found that various items, including pajama, punjabi, shirt, T-shirt, sari and salwar kameez, are selling at the footpath shops.

Shoes, tupee (cap), ator and other essential items for gents and children are also available in city footpaths, comparatively at lower prices.

The vendors are selling shirt at Tk 350-500, jeans pants at Tk 350-700, T-shirt at Tk 200-350, three pieces at Tk 450-1000, sari at Tk 450-1500, three-quarter jeans pants at Tk 250-300, frock and top at Tk 250-500.

Hundreds of stalls have been set up in Court Point, infront of Zilla Parishad and Post Office areas, known to be the major business hubs for street vendors and hawkers.

Vendors said the footpath business has gained momentum every day during the first half of Ramadan, which usually multiplied in the last seven days of the fasting month.

The small vendors have already renovated their shops or built temporary stalls to make the brisk business at a time when markets are bustling with crowds as shopping is picking up amid festivity.

Every year before Eid festival, the moneyed men crowd the mega shopping malls and centres in the city’s posh areas while the low-income group throngs footpath shops to purchase their desired items.

The lower-income people go to footpath shops to buy a variety of items on the occasion of the festival, as they cannot buy expensive items from the posh malls, said the buyers.

Zahid Hassan who bought clothes from a makeshift shop at new market said, “We are buying things from these stalls at cheap rates for celebrating the Eid with my near and dear.”

Another buyer, a middle-aged housewife who went to Court Point footpath shops for Eid shopping, said they had to compromise on their Eid shopping due to higher prices of items.

“We are coming to the footpath for Eid shopping as the prices of items are cheap comparing to mega markets,” she added.

Street vendors alleged that they have to pay tolls to local political leaders and law-enforcers for getting every tiny slot on footpaths to set up shops.

A vendor said though it is illegal to set up shops on footpaths, they are being allowed to open their stalls by paying money either to local hooligans or patrol police.

“Sometimes we have to pay tolls to two to three groups,” said the street vendor at Bandar Bazar seeking anonymity.