Jonaki Tripura was on her way to Shuvolong market on Kaptai Lake in Rangamati to buy some necessities for her family. She stopped rowing after seeing a large crowd centering a small floating market that she had not noticed before.
The market was offering various items ranging from food to daily essentials to clothing. What surprised her was the price - get anything at only Tk1.
The floating 'Ek Takar Bazar' (shopping at Tk1) is an initiative of the Bangladesh Army and the non-profit organisation Bidyanondo Foundation – for the poor and working people living in remote areas so that they can get through the winter.
Apart from Shuvolong bazar, the floating market was set up in different areas in Rangamati such as in Juraichhari, Belaichhari, Barkal and Harina bazar. Organisers said the One Taka Market will continue till 18 December.
Customers have expressed their satisfaction and gratitude to the organisers, buying daily necessities to meet their needs.
"There were at least 20 types of goods, including blankets, lungis, pahari thami sarees, flour, suji, and more, on the boats. I bought many things for my family that I cannot afford to buy at regular prices from a traditional market," said Jonaki Tripura.
Another buyer, Khalil Uddin, said many people benefited from the initiative of the Bangladesh Army and Bidyanondo Foundation and such initiatives should be taken up more frequently.
Commending the initiative, Shuvolong union parishad Chairman Tarun Jyoti said, "I told people about this market which everyone did not know about. I thank the authorities for organising this affordable market for working people and request the authorities concerned to take up more of this type of initiative for marginalised people in the future."
Bidyanondo Board Member Md Jamaluddin said, "We regularly arrange this One Taka Market on the plains with the full cooperation of the four army zones. Last year, we organised a One Taka Market during the Prabarana Purnima and received a good response. This time, the purpose is to stand by people in getting through winter."
Moreover, the income of the people has also gone down with the water level of the lake which has also started going down. So food products are also being made available in the One Taka Market to meet the needs of people in these difficult times, he added.
"Around 200 families benefited from buying essential items at each market. As such, this facility is a low cost benefit to 1,000 families in five markets. However, since we have more goods at hand, more people are receiving the benefit somewhere," he said.
Inaugurating the floating market on Saturday, Rangamati Regional Commander Brigadier General Iftekur Rahman, said, "This arrangement is to make daily necessities easily available to the common people in remote areas. In the future too, the army will work to bring smiles to the faces of marginalised people."