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Shahbagh: A boon for street vendors

Publication Date : 22-02-2013


A man balances a huge plastic bag filled with dough shells on his head. He threads his way through the crowds in Projonmo Chattar in Dhaka. Mohammad Shahab Uddin, a street food vendor, is waiting for him. Uddin has run out of the shells to make bhelpuri, a popular snack.

“I have never sold more bhelpuris than here,” Uddin says. In spite of huge competition from other vendors, his sales have been on a record high at the protest scene.

Compared to ordinary days, Shahab Uddin's sales have grown from 2,000 to 3,000 Bangladeshi taka (US$27-37 approx.) to more than 4,000 to 5,000 taka per day.

Normally, one has to go to the New Market or some particular spots in Dhaka to get I. But since the food salesmen have installed themselves on Projonmo Chattar, the snacks are easily available next to other street food like fried lobster heads, shrimp pakora, mixed chola, guava and star fruit with mustard or puri.

Every salesman approached by The Daily Star appeared happy with the business. They profit not only by serving the crowds on Projonmo Chattar, but also the visitors of the ongoing one-month book fair on the nearby Bangla Academy premises.

Mohammad Nipob Hossain, a seller of spicy puffed rice, has almost doubled his sales. Normally, the light snack brings in about 800 taka per day. But on the protest square his sales are around 1,500 taka daily.

Next to the fried, spicy and salty specialties, healthier options like beautifully carved carrots, hog plums or cucumbers are also popular. Shaheen Rassel raised his carrot sales from 1,000 taka to 2,000 taka per day, he said.

For sweet lovers, Projonmo Chattar also offers a wide range to choose from--rice pudding, soan papri, candy floss or dried mango beside different types of candies.


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