Card issuance complications delay TCB day one sales

TCB will sell sugar, lentils and soybean oil at subsidized prices to one million low-income families in the weeks leading up to Eid-ul-Azha

TBS report

June 22, 2022, 10:10 PM

Last modification: June 22, 2022, 10:17 p.m.

Shoppers line up to buy basic necessities at subsidized prices from a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) truck in the capital. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS

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Shoppers line up to buy basic necessities at subsidized prices from a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) truck in the capital. Photo: Salahuddin Ahmed/TBS

On Wednesday, complications in the issuance of family cards marred nationwide sales of key commodities by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). Thousands of people have returned home empty-handed despite fulfilling all the requirements to benefit from the facility.

In some parts of the capital, sales started at noon without complications while in other parts the process was delayed and even postponed as many eligible customers had not obtained their family card, which is mandatory for purchase goods from TCB.

TCB will sell sugar, lentils and soybean oil at subsidized prices to one million low-income families in the weeks leading up to Eid-ul-Azha, according to an earlier government announcement.

On the first day of the campaign, in South Begunbari, sales started around 12:00 p.m. and ended without any major obstacles.

Nabi Hossain, a TCB retailer in the area, said: “There is no problem if someone does not buy the products on Wednesday. As long as there are products in the store, cardholders can take them.”

In Segunbagicha, sales were delayed because the authorities did not issue family cards to customers.

Helalur Rahman, council office secretary, Segunbagicha Ward 20, told The Business Standard (TBS): “The dealer had received the goods. But the municipality’s regional office removed 4,093 family cards from the council office after two words “Amader” and

“Mulniti” was misspelled in the card format. They’re supposed to return the cards, but haven’t done so yet.”

He said it could take seven days for the cards to arrive.

However, as the number of customers increased in the area, authorities ordered dealers around 12:30 p.m. to sell the products while keeping copies of the buyers’ voter cards. Under the regulations, however, dealers are supposed to sell goods only to TCB cardholders.

Queuing to buy goods, day laborer Nizam Uddin said, “It costs Tk 410 to buy two liters of oil from the market. But here [TCB dealer’s shop], two liters of oil, two kg of legumes and one kg of sugar are available at Tk405. That’s why I came to buy TCB products.”

“We are poor people, the incomes are low and the price of everything in the market is also increasing,” he said.

Meanwhile, card-related complications led to a halt in TCB sales in Eskaton, while the process was delayed until 2 p.m. in two parts of Mohammadpur.

Md Shahidullah, a TCB dealer at Ward-19 in Eskaton, said: “I brought the goods from the TCB office on Tuesday afternoon and stored them in the store. But I couldn’t sell the goods to anyone today. today because they didn’t have the cards.”

Asked about the situation, ward council authorities said customers in the area will have to wait until next Saturday to get the cards.

Ward councilor Abul Bashar told TBS that the municipality’s regional office withdrew customer card forms initially sent due to an error.

He said new forms were given to customers on Tuesday and filled out overnight. About 1,900 family card applications were sent to the municipality office.

In Mohammadpur, distribution of goods started at 2:00 p.m. at the market near Lalmatia Boys High School and Suchona Community Center in Ward 29. Cards were distributed to families in the morning.

TCB on Wednesday sold its products nationwide except for Sylhet division and Madaripur, Shariatpur, Gopalganj and Munshiganj districts. In the capital, the subsidized goods were sold in 40 districts under the two municipal corporations.

Sallie R. Loera