Sales of clothes meant for Zakat have declined in the country this year following some tragic incidents during distribution, traders said.
At least 10 people were killed and 50 others injured in a stampede in Chattogram when they were collecting Zakat and Iftar essentials on May 14.
In July 2015, 27 people died in Mymensingh during the distribution of Zakat clothes, according to Fire Service and Civil Defence (FSCD).
According to official data, a total of 70 people were killed in such incidents in the last ten years in the country.
Md Mizanur Rahman, owner of M/S Madina Fabrics at Islampur Road in old Dhaka, said the sales of lungis, sarees and kids wear for Zakat have declined nearly 25 per cent this year.
Sales of both readymade clothes and fabrics have also dropped, he added.
"I have sold only 8,000 pieces of sarees, lungis and kids wear worth Tk 1.6 million this year. But I sold 11,500 pieces last year," he said.
Md Saiful Islam, owner of Ashirbad Bastralaya, a cloth shop at Baburhat in Narsingdi district, said sales of Zakat clothes dropped to Tk 0.22 million per day during this holy month of Ramadan as against Tk 0.3 million last year.
Traders at Baburhat, the biggest clothes wholesale market in the country, buy clothes from weavers in Pabna, Sirajganj and Narsingdi, he told the FE over cell phone.
Enmaul Haque, owner of Nilphamari-based Satota Garments, came to Islampur in Dhaka last week to buy clothes for his showroom.
He told the FE that he received only one order for Zakat clothes from a party this year. The party asked him to supply only lungi just to avoid gathering of women and children.
Mr Haque said he used to get a minimum of four orders earlier.
Well-off people in rural areas now give Zakat in cash instead of clothes or food, he added.
Samsul Alam Sabjal, president of Islampur Cloth Merchants Association (ICMA), said many of the traders have stopped selling clothes for Zakat this year.
They counted losses in the last few years after investing in Zakat clothes, he said.
Md Nizam Uddin, director (Zakat Fund Division) at the state-run Islamic Foundation, told the FE that growing awareness among the people about the main purpose of Zakat has led to the decline in sales of Zakat clothes.
People are now giving their Zakat in cash to the government and private organisations which are working to help eradicate poverty, he said.
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