Many people aren't adhering to lockdown guidelines in Rajabazar area of the capital, which was marked as a Covid-19 red zone and placed under lockdown four days ago.
Authorities concerned have kept only one gate of the neighborhood open and have arranged disinfectants there. However, The Business Standard saw people sending and receiving products and food items through small holes in other closed gates, violating instructions from the police and volunteers.
The city corporation authorities have strictly forbidden sending food outside from the areas under the red zone, volunteers said, adding that sending or receiving food from the closed gates may deteriorate the coronavirus situation in the area further.
The city corporation also asked the locals to bring necessary items that aren't available in the area from outside with the help of the volunteers, so that they can disinfect the packages before giving them to the locals. But many locals did not seem to care about it.
Even though the authorities have managed enough grocery items for the residents of the area, some residents were seen buying items from outside.
A woman, named Tasmi, who ordered pizza from Foodpanda, was seen receiving the package through one of the holes in the gate on the west side of Rajabazar.
The police personnel on duty did stop her at first. But they ended up allowing her to get the package after a few moments.
Another woman was seen receiving a computer mouse she ordered from online. Unwilling to be named, she told the correspondent that she ordered it a long time ago and received the item from this gate as the only gate that remained open is far from where she lives.
Mahfuzur Rahman, another resident of the area who received a smartphone he ordered online from the closed gate also said the same thing.
Many residents of the area were seen waiting in front of the closed gates to send cooked food to their friends and relatives on the other side of the gate.
People were even seen entering the area from below the closed gate at Indira road even after the police and volunteers told them to not enter the red zone.
A father, who bought chips for his child, said, "I work at a shop in Farmgate. I don't come to my home since the lockdown began. But I couldn't resist when my child asked for chips."
Shiuli Akter, a resident of Rajabazar brought green coconut and pineapple from outside. When asked why she bought the fruits from the outside when they are available in the area, she said that her husband from the other side of the gate bought them for her as the ones available in the area cost more.
People in Indira road were seen bringing widely available items, even bananas, from outside. Women were seen waiting with cooked food to give them to their husband or brother who was outside the red zone.
When police and volunteers told them not to give or take any food from outside Rajabazar, they started arguing with them.
"We were instructed not to allow any person or item to pass the gates. But we can't always stop people from passing foods on humanitarian ground," the volunteers and police officials said.
"We told the people to use the gate beside IBA hostel if they want to send or receive anything. But many are not listening," they added.
People entering the area using the main gate were seen entering with grocery bags on their hands.
"We are giving service to the residents 24 hours a day. If a product is not available inside the red zone, we get them from outside and deliver them to the residents who need them," Coordinator of the volunteers Masudul Islam Sumon said.
"We even asked the chain shops and delivery services to give some special discounts in the area. We didn't receive any complaint regarding the pricing of products as of yet," he added.
Earlier on Friday, people had to stand in long lines to buy daily groceries. Only chaldal.com, Ekshop, Bazar Bondhu operated on the area that day. People suffered due to their delivery system.
With grocery chain Shwapno entered the area with vehicles full of daily groceries including vegetables, fruits, fish, meat and child food, locals got relieved a little. No gathering of people buying daily groceries was seen on the streets on Saturday.
No bank booth in locked-down area
Arifur Rahman, a resident of Rajabazar said there are no bank booths in the area.
"Since there is no bank booth in the locked-down area and all shops that used to provide bKash, rocket and other mobile financing services are closed, we are having trouble getting money," he said.
"The volunteers are doing everything they can. But we need bank booths or shops that provide money transaction services to remain open in order to cash out money," he added.