Owners of small businesses in Rajshahi defied the government-imposed restrictions and opened their shops yesterday.
Many traders and their employees opened shops at the RDA Market, in the heart of the city, on the second day of the seven-day “lockdown”.
Maksudur Rahman, organising secretary of Rajshahi Babosayi Oikya Parishad, an alliance of 110 local business bodies, said they were demanding an exclusion of small businesses from the restrictions since a day before the lockdown.
On the first day of lockdown on Monday, they demonstrated on the street for two hours and later withdrew as local administrative officials called them for a discussion.
“But the meeting ended without a decision,” he said.
“Also, we have not decided to open our shops. But some businessmen opened their shops on their own as they felt helpless in the face of losses that is to occur for keeping their shops closed,” he said.
During a visit to the city’s RDA market yesterday morning, this correspondent saw most shops were open. However, the number of buyers were low.
Md Sujon, owner of a shoe store — Sheikh Shoes, kept the shutter of his store half open. “I opened the shop to put price tag on the shoes,” he said, adding that he purchased some Tk 11 lakh worth of shoes, which reached his shop the day before the lockdown.
“Shoe traders are the worst suffers… Shoes cannot be stored for a long time,” he said.
He said he suffered a Tk 20 lakh loss due to last year’s “lockdown”. “If I cannot sell do business this year too, I will have to close my shop for good,” he added.