A long queue of city- dwellers was seen at a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) truck sale on Tuesday morning after the price of onions hiked alarmingly, as India banned export of all kinds of onions 24 hours earlier.
The news of the latest ban on onion export by the Indian government travelled across to the Bangladesh domestic market quickly and the retailers started charging additional Tk 5 to 10 per kg of onion on Monday night itself.
Bangladesh usually imports around 50 percent of its annual demand for onions from India. The other half (roughly) is produced by its own farmers.
But this is the second consecutive year that the Indian government has been forced into the drastic move of banning exports in order to maintain its own stocks of the popular bulb, and before the price gathers any undue momentum. The timing is almost identical.
Some pointed out the export ban of onion came at a time when Bangladesh chose to export 1,450 tonnes of hilsa to India on the eve of Durga Puja, the biggest religious festival of the Hindu community that is huge in the bordering state of West Bengal. It’s also the biggest event of the year for Hindus living in what is now Bangladesh.
However it becomes clearer everyday that the Indians at the moment are in no state to reciprocate any such gesture, forget about being generous, or lighting or leading the way ahead. At least for the time-being. At this stage, if anything, she needs our help. And we should look to help them always, in whatever way we can. She needs our help.
In an effort to keep the supply and price of onions normal in the country, state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) has been selling onions at a fair price (Tk 30 per kg) through its OMS truck sales at different points of the capital as well.
One such spot is near the Khamarbari intersection in the capital. On Tuesday, the first full day after the Indian government’s ban went into effect. A UNB photojournalist was there to capture the scenes from the OMS.
A city dweller (centre, in baseball cap) has managed to complete the entire transaction of buying onions, and can finally withdraw from what looks like a very unsafe setting.
A woman gets her onions and red lentils. Although in general more of the women than men could be seen wearing masks, the photo also shows distancing (social, physical or any other kind) is not even a concept at OMS.
A man buying onions stares hard at his purchase, as if willing the bag into revealing its weight. the Look-to-Measure test, that requires staring at products long and hard, till one is satisfied.
As the day wears on, more and more buyers looking for onions start showing up at the sale. News of the Indian ban is still spreading. Sensing the coming demand for onions, a 50-kg sack is emptied and the onions are repackaged in smaller retail bags.