However, regular hotels and restaurants in neighbourhoods will be allowed to sell iftar items on limited scale
With the Covid-19 menace hitting the country hard, no street shops will be allowed to sell Iftar items during the upcoming month of Ramadan in order to prevent public gatherings.
Crowds at kitchen markets have been a major concern for the authorities since the countrywide shutdown began last month. Preventing shoppers from crowding at Iftar shops would be a major challenge, police said.
The Inspector General of Police (IGP), Benazir Ahmed, instructed officers of all ranges, metropolitans, special units and district police via video conference from police headquarters on Wednesday to maintain law and order during the holy Ramadan.
Some police officials who attended the meeting confirmed the matter to Dhaka Tribune.
The IGP made it known that preventing gatherings at market places would be a priority and no Iftar shops would be allowed to operate during Ramadan, according to the police officials.
Old Dhaka is a hub for hundreds of street shops offering iftar items, as people from all parts of the capital throng there to buy delicious food items.
Regarding the matter, some officials said that since the lockdown is in effect, people are not allowed to visit their relatives and friends. Therefore, street shops offering Iftar items won’t be essential this time.
However, regular hotels and restaurants in neighbourhoods will be allowed to sell iftar items on a limited scale since not all city dwellers have kitchens or cooking facilities, said police officials.
The IGP said at the meeting that in the current situation, police would strengthen market monitoring activities to keep prices of daily essentials stable in the month of Ramadan.
He also directed that initiatives be taken to set up mobile courts, if necessary.
He added that any irregularities in distribution of relief would not be tolerated.
Necessary coordination with the deputy commissioners of the district concerned is required to ensure that relief and Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) products, vulnerable group feeding (VGF), and Open Market Sales (OMS) facilities reached people in a timely fashion.
Police officials were also instructed to ensure an uninterrupted food supply chain.
Thanking the officials of different units for sending rice harvesting workers to haor areas, the IGP said it might be necessary to send more workers.
Smooth movement for workers
He directed placing banners and lists of workers as well as the names and mobile phone numbers of the unit officers concerned in front of the workers' vehicles to ensure smooth movement.
It is necessary to ensure that no persons or organizations gather in large numbers in the name of relief distribution to disadvantaged people.
Benazir also asked them to ensure necessary support for distributing relief in time and maintain social distance.
The IGP said many marginalized people could become unemployed in the current situation. Many might become involved in crime. Theft, robbery and snatching could increase. Necessary steps would need to be taken to suppress such crimes.
Some people can spread confusion through religious incitement and rumours over coronavirus. “We have to remain aware in this regard,” he added.
In the present situation, militants can emerge. “We have to be vigilant so that the militants do not carry out any activities in any way,” Benazir was quoted as saying.
Adequate financial grants have already been provided to various units for the purchase of security equipment. No negligence would be acceptable in providing security materials to police personnel, the IGP said.
He thanked the garments units which had already provided salaries to their workers and urged the remaining garments to follow suit.
The IGP advised that if any garments resume operations, they must properly comply with government guidelines and hygiene.
Police Headquarters Assistant Inspector General (AIG-media) Md Sohel Rana said that the IGP had held a meeting with police higher-ups and issued security instructions ahead of Ramadan.