People from across the city started gathering on Krishibid Institution Bangladesh premises well before 8:00am yesterday. Within half an hour, the place swarmed with hundreds of people, with some of them carrying egg boxes, plastic bags, buckets, and cartons to buy eggs at less than half of the market price.
The crowd swelled as time passed and queues of willing buyers stretched for around a kilometre from sales booths. But only a few people were lucky to have bought eggs as most of them had to return home empty handed. For many, it was a bitter experience as they were chased by police amid a chaos, mainly due to mismanagement of the organisers.
To mark the World Egg Day 2017, Bangladesh Poultry Industries Central Council (DPICC) in collaboration with the Department of Livestock Services organised a much-hyped Egg Fair, offering the city dwellers eggs at Tk 3 each. One could buy a maximum of 90 eggs.
The fair, scheduled to be held from 10:00am to 1:00pm, was aimed at encouraging people to eat eggs. The organisers started selling eggs at 9:00am, but stopped within a few minutes as they failed to manage the huge number of customers.
Frustrated, some fair-goers then started chanting slogans against the organisers. A few makeshift shops at the fair venue collapsed due to crowds' pushing and shoving there. Many eggs in cages were seen smashed. Police intervened and used baton charges to stop the protest.
“It was a total farce. They [organisers] announced about the fair with hype, but gave us nothing. I have come here at 9:00am and returning home after being chased by police,” said Abu Raihan, a resident of Kazipara.
Sweating in the scorching heat, Hashem Ali was more furious.
“I stood in a long queue for about two hours only to be in the midst of a chaos. I'll never forget the World Egg Day ever in my life,” said a frustrated Hashem, a primary school teacher.
“What is the point of inviting people when you cannot do the job properly?” questioned the man in his forties.
Solaiman, a resident of Nakhalpara, was also there with three egg boxes.
“Seeing the advertisement, I came here with much enthusiasm to buy eggs.
But I haven't seen a single egg so far, let alone buying one,” he told this correspondent around 11:00am.
Sohel Haque from Gulshan said he came to know about the fair via social media.
“It's just a total chaos here. If they were not prepared, why they had given us the message and did publicity about it?”
Students too came to buy eggs.
“For bachelors, eggs are like national food. I came here at 8:00am hearing that eggs would be sold at Tk 3 each. But after waiting for such a long time, we are driven out by police,” said Rimon, a private university student from Shukrabad.
The few who luckily bought eggs also expressed frustration.
“I wanted 90 eggs, but could buy only 40 after waiting in this scorching heat,” said Salman, a resident of Raza Bazar.
Some people alleged that the organisers sold eggs to their acquaintances.
Traffic was disrupted on the road in front of the Krishibid Institution Bangladesh for several hours due to the chaos.
In a statement, BPICC President Mosiur Rahman said on the World Egg Day they attempted to give people a message that egg is a nutrition-enriched food and everyone should have it.
The BPICC kept the price low to enable low income people to buy eggs. That's why it decided to sell a maximum of 90 eggs to each person, added the statement.
“Due to a chaos, we couldn't do it today [yesterday],” said Mosiur Rahman, adding they would take steps again to sell eggs on reduced price in future.
Regarding the BPICC statement, Shanta Rahman, a small trader, said, “If it was meant for the poor, then why they didn't mention it in advertisements?”
MISMANAGEMENT IN CHITTAGONG
People in Chittagong had a similar experience.
The District Livestock Office selected three spots to sell 25,000 eggs at Tk 4 each among city residents.
The sale began at 11:00am at the Wasa intersection, Andarkilla intersection and Chittagong Press Club premises, but mismanagement was there as well.
Babu Sen of Jamal Khan area returned home empty handed after waiting in a queue on the press club premises since 10:00am.
“All they did is making a declaration of the programme, but they didn't have a proper preparation,” he said.
Chittagong District Livestock Officer Reajul Huq said the overwhelming response from city dwellers to buy eggs was beyond their expectation.
“We never thought that we have to face such a huge crowd. In future we will sell eggs a Taka less than the market price,” he told The Daily Star.