Afternoon of Kartik. At Larma Square in Dighinala, Khagrachari, the huts have started to gather. The main roads of Longadu, Baghaichari and Khagrachari district headquarters of Rangamati meet here. So the crowd is more. The market is here from noon to afternoon. At least a hundred types of products including various crops grown in the hills, bamboo sticks, sweet pumpkins, jungle potatoes, papayas, various varieties of custard apple, turmeric and ginger flowers are available in this market. Apart from this, mountain frogs, small fish, crabs are all available here. Busy shopping from noon to afternoon.
The specialty of this market is that almost all the vendors here are women. Women come to this market to sell various vegetables collected from the mountains or nature. It is known that sales are also good because many buyers gather. Babita Tripura of Kamuikyachra area of Dighinala said, ‘There is not much work at this time. So I went to the forest from morning to noon and collected bamboo sticks. I brought that to sell. Bring something every day. I don’t have my own farming land. We bring raw greens and greens collected from the mountains. Larma Square is crowded with shoppers. So come here to sell. All sellers here are women. It feels good.’
Lalita Tripura, a resident of Mayafa Para area of the upazila, said, ‘I feel very comfortable to shop here. All sellers are women. There is no specific day of the week, there is trading here every day. Today I came to sell sweet pumpkin flowers and mountain potatoes. All sold out within an hour. Income from 400 to 500 taka per day.
At least 5 days a week, Kelly Tripura, a resident of Nine Mile area, comes to Lerma Square market with different types of vegetables collected from the hills. He said, ‘There is a large number of buyers here, so it is sold out quickly. Women vendors from various hilly villages sit side by side and sell vegetables, rice, chillies, jungle potatoes, mountain fish. Income is good.’
Moni Chakma of Babupara area sits in the bazaar arranging different types of food. He said, ‘I sit at a specific place in the market every day with a shop. We mainly sell vegetables, peppers, pumpkins. Due to good customer base, it sells quickly. After noon, the number of buyers in the market increased. But the sale here ends before the evening.’
Suman Nath, a local resident, regularly buys from the market at Larma Square. He said, ‘There are various types of food products including fresh vegetables, fruits, crabs, small fish available at relatively low prices. So they come to this market two to three days a week. This haat is very popular with the locals because fresh and poison-free vegetables are available at low prices.
Shefalika Tripura, founder executive director and president of Khagrapur Mahila Kalyan Samiti said, “The women of the mountains work equally hard at home and outside. They also cultivate jum outside the family. Apart from this, many women go to market and sell and earn for the family.
Chayan Vikas Chakma, chairman of Boalkhali Union of Dighinala, said, ‘Hats have been sitting in Lerma Square for more than a decade. All sellers here are women. They bought and sold in the market and took the lead of the world. Hill women play the same role as men in the family economy. Women have a brilliant role in everything from crop production to market selling. This market is proof of that.