The Dhaka International Trade Fair 2020 witnessed its first crowd on the first weekly holiday of January, after two days of minimal visitor presence.
Though the crowd was thin on Friday morning due to the rain, the number of people began to increase from the afternoon. Thousands of people were seen entering the fair venue on Friday evening – in much larger numbers than on Thursday.
Farzana Nidhi, one of the exhibitors who was in the fair all day, said, "Number of people visiting the fair was low in the morning due to rain. But later in the afternoon, the fair came to life as thousands of people started to enter the venue."
Waterlogging, caused by the rain, was seen in different places at the fair – especially in front of the entrance gate.
Ikramul Joy, who visited the fair with his friends, said, "I visit the fair every year. This is the largest fair of our country, so I never miss the chance to visit it. Many brands offer discounts in the event. Today I came here to check out all the discounts."
He also added that it was a great experience to visit the fair this year, as the number of stalls and pavilions has decreased compared to previous fairs.
"I can roam around the fair more comfortably with my friends. But so many stalls and pavilions are still under construction, which annoyed us a lot," Joy said.
The month-long fair kicked off on Wednesday with almost 80 percent of the stalls and pavilions under construction. On that day, Md Abdur Rauf, member secretary to the fair and deputy director of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), told The Business Standard that the fair will be fully ready in a day or two.
Two days have already passed, and Friday was third day of the fair. But most of the local and foreign stalls and pavilions were still found to be under construction, and those in charge there said it will take another 2-3 days to complete the work.
Due to the construction, the whole ambience of the fair seems most likely to have changed. Also, the stalls surrounding any under construction stalls or pavilions are also facing problems, said several exhibitors.
There is an under-construction pavilion in front of Nazrul Store, a shop that sells local spices.
Md Rony Hawladar, who serves as the manager of the store, said, "The environment of the fair is being ruined by under-construction stalls and pavilions.
Areas where construction is still going on are getting less visitors. As a result, the stalls surrounding these areas – including ours – are suffering greatly."