Fair price shop for RMG workers

Srabon Chowdhury

Fair price shop is the shops that distribute commodities like rice, wheat etc. as a part of the public distribution system. They’re generally the stores o shops that sell daily commodities like wheat, rice, corn etc. for a lesser price.

On the back of rising prices of daily necessities, many garment makers in Bangladesh have opened fair price shops to help the garment workers even if some are providing daily essentials free of cost.

According to the industry insider more than  30 RMG manufacturing companies including Fakir Apparel ,Akij Group, SQ Celsius, Bitopi Group; Epyllion Group, Cute Dress, Square Group, DBL Group, Fakir Fashion, Mohammadi Group, Team Group, Ananta Companies, Sinha denim;Northern Apparel, Ananta Group and Meghna Group,Green Smart Shirts Ltd; Mahmud Group; Youth Group,Dekko Legacy Group; have, reportedly, been providing their respective workers daily necessities at fair price.

Like Mr.  Kashem Ali, a worker of the print and embroidery section at Jinnat Apparels Limited, comes to the Fair Price Shop inside the garment factory to buy some groceries. His list includes sugar, washing powder, beauty soap, toothpaste and so on.

“For every item I have to pay less than the market price. If I buy products of Tk500 here, I can save around Tk70 to 80,” said Kashem Ali, standing at the counter of the Fair Price Shop at Jinnat Complex in Sardagonj, Kashimpur, an industrial area of Gazipur.

More than 14,000 garment workers of four factories- Jinnat Apparels Limited, Jinnat Fashion Limited, Jinnat Knitwear Limited and Flamingo Fashions Limited in the Jinnat Complex buy their daily necessities from the shop.

Fatema, working as junior quality inspector at Green Smart Shirts Ltd, states, “We can buy from our factory shop, at fair price and there are also health card benefits. We are very happy with it.”

“Renu”, a fair price shop of Epyllion group has inaugurated at Epyllion Knitwears Limited (EKWL) – Madanpur, unit for the well being of our work force. Workers of EKWL – Madanpur unit  now can enjoy their closest experience of purchasing from a fair price super shop at less prices than the local market.

According to the industry oweners, `We believe with such initiatives will be able to effectively save our facilities . The management of products ventures bringing in hygienic products from all brands at affordable prices and having their stores in our facilities, will help the workers to shop at more convenience; saving their time & money and most importantly saving their surroundings from the exiting crisis.

Recently Garment workers of Asrotex Group who receive salary through bKash can now purchase daily necessities at affordable prices from fair price shop ‘Bansai Bazar Sodai’ at the factory premises.

“Protein Nest” is a new concept marketing center for readymade garments workers. It is a subsidiary of Mati Industries Limited. All the workers and employees working in the factory will be able to meet the demand for meat by purchasing non-vegetarian products from this “Protein Nest” fair price shop at a fair price. “Protein Nest” will provide workers with daily necessities for less than the market price; The products will be sized according to the needs of the buyers while maintaining proper standards and specific packages. Currently, “Protein Nest” has set up its first marketing center inside Sinha Knit Industries Limited.

GAIN, a Switzerland-based international development organisation, organised the meeting with participation of the stakeholders to chalk out a future strategy on technical assistance and how to make the initiative successful.

Several shops have so far been set up at two factories at Ashulia and Gazipur with support of GAIN, from which about 15,000 RMG workers and their family members are entitled to buy essentials.

Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) would set up shops at RMG factories to sell goods at fair prices to the workers amid the rising prices of essentials.  About 80,000 people (20,000 female workers and 60,000 family members) are expected to be benefited from the initiativ

Also Read: MATI launched fair price shop “Protein Nest” at Sinha Knit Industries