The vans line up in a queue every day. Each van is filled with vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbages and gourds. These vegetables are being given out for free.
This vegetable market has been a common scenario in the lanes and by-lanes of Chattogram city since April 4.
A group of young people launched this free vegetable market in Chattogram city on April 4 to help poor people cope with the crisis cause by COVID-19.
When asked, the initiators said the vegetables are being given out from five vans daily. There are 100 kilogrammes of vegetables in each van. A person can take a maximum of two types of vegetables for free as per their need.
Talking to this correspondent, the beneficiaries said the mobile vegetable supply is a timely initiative as the vendors who usually sell vegetables in the lanes have stopped their business due to the spread of coronavirus.
Abdus Salam, a beneficiary and resident of the Chandgaon area, said, that after seeing a van coming down the lane, he collected two types of vegetables from it, but the youths refused to take money. He could not even force them to accept payment.
Arshadul Alam Bachchu, one of the initiators and the former office secretary of the Chhatra League's city unit, told The Business Standard that people have been instructed to stay at home in bid to prevent COVID-19 infection. But people are coming out of their houses to buy daily essentials.
Again, the poor are unable to buy essentials and low income people do not seek help for fear of social dishonor. So, we have taken the initiative to stand beside them in this crisis.
He added that though various organisations are donating goods like rice, lentils, sugar and oil as relief, people have to come out of the house for vegetables, defying the instruction of maintaining social distancing. So, mobile markets are going to the lanes and by-lanes to deliver vegetables door to door.
At present, 500 kilogrammes of vegetables are being given out daily. This will continue, and an effort is being made to increase the amount of vegetables, Bachchu said.
Two people have already been tested positive for COVID-19 in Chattogram. Five more have been kept in isolation.
Chattogram Metropolitan Police on Monday closed the five gateways of the city and locked it down. Almost 60 lakh people are now stuck at home in the port city.
Many public and private organisations are helping out the ultra poor, the poor and the middle class in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.