Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home |  Volume 6, Issue 05, Tuesday, February 01, 2011




Dhaka New Super Market

Dhaka New Super Market is a place where you can get almost everything imaginable.

Shopping within a limited budget is a tedious undertaking in the city, more so if it's at Dhaka New Super Market. This is not because of excessive prices but because of the diversity of goods, their high quality, attractive designs and an opportunity to haggle till you drop. You can get almost everything imaginable at this veritable shopping centre. It is the ultimate shopper's haven.

This shopping destination is within the Dhaka New Market Complex and is managed by the Dhaka City Corporation authority. It's a three-story complex and has around 1250 shops. Open on all days of the week except Tuesday, this market is popularly known as 'Dubai Market' or 'Singapore Market' for its cosmetics products. At the beginning of the 1990s most of the products, mostly cosmetics, were directly imported from Dubai or Singapore and hence the nomenclature.

“Many of the products are still imported and not available in other markets of the city. That is the reason why people flock this centre throughout the week,” said General Secretary of of New Super Market, Mohammed Shahid Ullah. Crockery, cosmetics products and home furnishing goods are found on the ground floor. Clothes, especially jeans for boys, plastic goods, spectacles and fast food shops are on the first floor. The second floor features shops selling clothes, especially for men, artificial flowers, CD shops and boutiques.

Farhana, a homemaker and a shopper said, “It is really very interesting to shop in this market. Today I have come here with only Tk2000 and I bought kitchen utensils and an attractive flower vase. I'm very happy with the price and quality of the goods.”

A lot of people come to this shopping centre to buy gifts. “Thursday is the busiest day as occasions like weddings, receptions or birthday programmes are scheduled mostly on Friday and people come to shop at the last minute” said Farid Hossain, a salesman in a gift shop. As gifts, the most popular products are crockery, artificial flowers, table lamps, tea sets, dinner sets, photo albums, toaster machines and wall paintings.

Students of Dhaka University and almost all private universities come here a lot because of the outlets selling trendy denims. Sunny, a BUET student who was hanging out with a friend here said “Generally I buy all of my jeans here, because I get them at a reasonable price and here I have the option of tailoring those pants according to my needs.”

Home appliances made of plastic are widely used in almost every home. Plastic has now replaced tin, wood, iron, and cane. That is why we see items like buckets, bowls, chairs and even furniture made of plastic. Besides plastic goods, shops for fast food and fashionable spectacles are also available here.

A large portion of the second floor is occupied by trendy wear, especially T-shirts for the adult male.

At least 100 small boutiques are stationed on the second floor. In the second half of 90s a group of Eden College students started doing batik work here. They used to take orders for block prints on shalwar kameez sets, saris and shawls. This became popular with the crowd in a short period.

People still place orders for embellishing their outfits. They also sell attractive shalwar kameez sets, which have proved popular among the women clientele. There is however one factor that governs a good buy at this shopping centre: your power to haggle. Unless you are good at it, chances are you will return home with a purchase you are not happy with.

Dhaka New Super Market is a place where you can get almost everything imaginable.

Armed with a power to haggle, you can rest assure that the place will please you. You will be satisfied with the price and the quality of the goods on offer.

By Mahtabi Zaman
Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed

New Market Kacha Bazaar

Many of you may not be familiar with 'Banalata Market' but chances are you frequent the place. New Market Kaccha Bazaar its more popular name -- is one of the busiest kitchen markets in the city. It is also a part of Dhaka New Market and situated within the market complex.

New Market kitchen market is open round the week from 7:30am to 12am. In nearly 250 shops at the place, people get fresh products throughout the year, and this has been the hallmark of this place for ages.

Starting from vegetables, fish, poultry, meat, rare spices, molasses, rice, lentils and even dry fish, everything is available here. Some products like chicken, eggs, and fish are sold in wholesale quantities at the start of the day.

Like any other kitchen market, opportunities to bargain are aplenty. The spacious setting of the centre allows free and easy movement while shopping and can be accessed by all modes of transport -- public or private.

By Mahtabi Zaman




Romela's husband abandoned her with a child and did not look after the family. To survive, Romela start working as a house-help at the union parishad member's house in Kurigram. Taking advantage of her misfortune, the head of the house established an illicit relationship with Romela. He promised to give her enough money but Romela became pregnant and the man did not keep his word.

Seven months into her pregnancy, Romela came to Dhaka. She gave birth to a beautiful girl and refused to abandon the child. She wanted to arrange arbitration at the village so that she could claim a handsome sum from the perpetrator. Romela's father, fearful of social stigma, refused to accept the child into his home. Ultimately Romela had no other way but to leave the child at a shelter of a non-government organisation.

The same is the story of most abandoned children who are rehabilitated and restored to society by the process of adoption. It is not true that only poor women leave their children uncared for. Women from well-off families also abandon children when they are bereft of other options.

As did Rumana. Her father is an engineer and she is the only child of her parents. During the course of her O' levels at an English medium school in Dhaka, she became physically intimate with one of her classmates, and became pregnant. Her parents made Rumana give her child away for the same reason as Romela's.

Although women from both poor and affluent families give up their unwanted children, the propensity to do so is more in the less privileged stratum of society, as suggested by findings of a Dhaka-based NGO that works with distressed mothers. Generally, single mothers are the donors of the children and most of them are garment workers, household helps and destitute women.

Due to stringent laws governing the adoption process, people keen on adopting children within and outside of Bangladesh face serious problems. Foster parents can only achieve guardianship by Bangladeshi law. Thus, the rehabilitated child does not inherit its foster parents' property, and consequently may suffer from insecurity.

The second problem is faced by families living abroad who want to adopt a Bangladeshi child. They must undergo bureaucratic hassles to get the clearance for taking the child abroad. Their peril does not end there. In the country of residence, there is much confusion as the child is not adopted by law, rather only guardianship is handed over to the family.

In 1972 an adoption law was implemented making procedures simple for sending war children abroad. This law was amended in 1981 and after the amendment, foster parents can now get only the guardianship of the child.

Sometimes the biological mother wants to know the whereabouts of the abandoned child from the organisations working with these children. Generally these organisations mentally prepare the mothers so that they do not want to communicate with their children after transferring guardianship.

The number of children requiring adoption is always lower than the number of guardianship applicants. These organisations work with children under the age of five. They require that the foster parents be between the ages of 35 to 45.

Once there was a trend of taking guardianship of a relative's child, but that practice is changing now, because people find it troublesome after a certain point. The biological parents often want their children back after some time.

Social workers have found that generally, the foster parents prefer a girl to a boy, because they expect girls to be easier to handle and more caring towards the parents in adulthood.

Bangladeshi citizens, more importantly the expatriates, have to face a lot of problems both at home and in their resident countries for the want of adoption laws. In the case of international adoption, they have to cross the hurdle of adoption agencies, the court, the home ministry and then the embassy.

Overcoming all these problems is a challenge in terms of time, labour, patience as well as money. All these problems sometimes discourage those who are keen to adopt a child from Bangladesh. This ultimately results in misfortune for a destitute baby trying to become a part of mainstream society.

By Mahtabi Zaman

Procedures for adoption

Under laws enacted in 1981, in Bangladesh, it is not legally possible to adopt a child; one can only become a legal guardian. Procedures for 'legal guardianship' also differ for Bangladeshis residing in the country and those residing abroad. Foreign nationals cannot seek legal guardianship or adoption of a Bangladeshi child, according to present laws of the country.

For Bangladeshi residents interested in adopting a child, an authority working with the adoption procedures must first be contacted. It can be an NGO, an orphanage or may be an individual, willing to give a child up for adoption.

After selecting the child, the foster parents have to go to the court to get permission as custodian or guardian of the child. If s/he gets the permission from the court, s/he is legally permitted to take the child's guardianship. After submitting the court's permission to the respective authority of the child, the family can take the child and the procedure is complete.

In case of adoption by ex-patriats, the family must first apply to the authorities looking into adoption procedures in the country of residence. If declared acceptable, as a second step, the family has to contact agencies working with adoption related matters -- NGOs, orphanages and so on in Bangladesh. After selection of the ward, they will have to go to the court for permission of the child's guardianship. The third step ensues after getting permission. The family has to go to the Ministry of Home Affairs for permission for the child's passport.

In the fourth stage, they will have to submit the home ministry's clearance to the respective high commission or embassy for the visa. The last stage or the final stage has to be completed in their resident country, where the child is granted rights, which may be different from our own.

By Mahtabi Zaman



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