On Monday, shops in the vegetable market in Chattogram city's Chawk Bazar were open, but there were almost no customers in the market.
Vegetable seller Nurul Absar said there were no customers till 1pm due to the waterlogging in that area. 'There is waist-deep water in the market. How can customers come wading through that?' he asked.
Abul Kalam, a businessman from the Oxygen Mor area in the city said his shop is flooded even after a little bit of rain.
Nurul Alam, a street peddler in the 2 No Gate area in Chattogram, said he had to idle away on rainy days. There are nearly 30,000 street peddlers like Nurul in the port city who could not take to the streets due to rain.
Even a small amount of rain in Chattogram city creates a flood-like situation, which sometimes continues for days at a stretch. Businessmen in the lower parts of the city suffer most because of waterlogging.
Retail sellers buy products and vegetables from the wholesale markets in Khatunganj and Riazuddin Bazar. When these small businessmen cannot run their businesses, the wholesalers also suffer losses, that sometimes amount to hundreds of crores of Taka in a single day.
Each year rainfall and high tide inundate the storage houses in Chaktai-Khatunganj and cause loss of hundreds of crores of Taka, claimed the businessmen.
There are around five thousand storage houses in the wholesale market in Chaktai-Khatunganj. The owners of these storages said the area gets submerged in knee-deep water even after a small amount of rainfall. Also, the high tide from the Bay of Bengal - moving through Karnaphuli river and Chaktai and Rajakhal canals - floods the shops in that area, as result of which businesses stop. The businessmen in the area elevated the shop floors and erected a two-feet high wall at the entrances, but that does not save them from the flood water.
Visiting the area, this reporter found that the lower parts of Madhyam Chaktai, Notun Chaktai, Char Chaktai, Purana Chaktai, Makbul Saudagar Road and Asadganj went down knee-deep water after Monday's rain. There were also waterlogging in the streets in Ilias Market, Badshah Market, Sonamia Market, Amir Market, Nabi Market, Chaktai Mosjid Gali, Drumpotti, Chalpotti, Ejaj Market and Chandmia Goli in Khatunganj. The businessmen in those areas said the goods in some of the shops and storages get soaked due to high tide throughout the year.
Syed Sagir Ahmed, general secretary of Khatunganj Trade and Industries Association, said, "Nearly 40-50 percent of the consumer goods of the country are bought and sold here. Trading worth almost Tk2,000 crores is done in these markets. But when waterlogging hits the area, business transaction comes down to Tk1,000 crore."
He also said that perishable consumer goods worth crores of Taka are wasted due to the waterlogging. Many businessmen cannot repay their loans after heavy losses.
Rainfall creates waterlogging also in the Bahaddar Hat, Agrabad, Halishahar, Muradpur, Sholoshahar, 2 No. Gate area, Prabartak Mor, Chawk Bazar area. Kitchen markets in Chawk Bazar, Halisahar, Bahaddar, and Oxygen Mor area go under waist deep water, which bring trading to a halt.
According to sources at Chattogram Metropolitan Police, there are 30 to 40 thousand street peddlers or hawkers in the port city. Rainfall and high tide disrupt their business.
Miron Hossain, president of Chattogram Sammilta Hawkers Federation, said, "there are 22 thousand registered street hawkers in the city. They become jobless whenever it is raining. Many of their products rot after soaking in rain."
He also said that on normal days these hawkers engage in trading worth Tk9 crore. But on the rainy days this amount comes down to 1.5 crore, as a little bit of rainfall creates waterlogging in the streets.