The main raw material for the winter garments and yarn traded in Shawl Bazaar is garment jhoot (cutting waste)
The supply of winter clothes has dropped at Shawil Market in Bogura's Adamdighi upazila following a crisis of both raw materials and labourers due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Established about 45 years ago, the market sells and buys yarn of various colours and quality as well as winter clothes every year worth around Tk500 crore; however, the business leaders said there may be at least Tk100 crore less transactions this time.
The traders said there are about 10,000 looms around Shawil Market. Apart from this, weaving products come to this market from different villages of the Naogaon and Natore districts. Most of the winter clothes in Konchashahar of Gobindaganj upazila of Gaibandha are made of yarn bought at Shawil Bazar.
Moreover, various types of blankets and towels woven in the Adamdighi and surrounding villages are sent to almost all districts.
Mohammad Faruk Hassan, a local businessman and general secretary of Nasratpur Tantbaya Samiti, said due to Covid-19, transactions will drop by at least 20%. The main raw material for the winter garments and yarn traded in Shawl Bazaar is garment jhoot (cutting waste). Since March, there has been a crisis of jhoot and production has been disrupted.
He demanded government incentives to cover the financial losses of about two lakh workers and traders and urged the government to buy clothes from Shawil Bazar for various needs, including relief, in winter.
Local businessman Alhaj MA Hamid Abu Haji said he would send goods to neighbouring India's Western Dinajpur.
"I have shipped a variety of fabrics to Myanmar and Malaysia before, and there is a demand for winter clothing made in Shawil in many markets in South Asia and across the country," he added.
Rafiqul Islam, vice-president of Shawil Bazar Samiti, said he traded goods worth around Tk70 lakh last year but the demand this year is low due to the pandemic.
"I am sceptical about whether there will be business worth Tk30 lakh this year," he said.
Mohammad Soukhin Sheikh, one of the founders of the market, said last year, after deducting all the expenses, the profit was around Tk1 lakh but this year it is very unlikely.
"Every year, before December, the buying and selling is around Tk6 lakh, but so far this year the number of transactions has been half of last year's," he said.
Tanti Samsuddin, a resident of Shawil Lokchara village, said, "I used to make at least 1,000 clothing items a month before the pandemic. The two looms have been shut down since the pandemic started as workers were no longer available. I run a loom now and can make 300-400 clothing items per month."
Shafiqul Islam, another weaver from the same area, said he could not work due to lack of yarn.
Rahima Khatun has been extracting yarn from jhoot for 20 years. She said she has never seen such a recession on the market.