PrIce HIke of eSSentIAlS

Govt goes tough on hoarders, syndicate

The government has formed monitoring teams to check further price hike of onion, rice and other essentials at the wholesale and retail markets. Besides, it also opened control room to monitor the overall market situation across the country so that no unscrupulous traders would dare to increase the prices of essentials, according to the food ministry and directorate general of food.

The government will go tough against hoarders and syndicate if they try to create artificial crisis to increase the prices of essentials. The government has decided to form monitoring teams to check further price hike of onion at the wholesale and retail market as the country has adequate onion stock, sources said. While talking to media Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said they have taken various measures so that the farmers get fair price of their crops.

“Our main object is to break the syndicate in order to make the essential commodities’ prices stable. Besides, consumers will also be able to purchase rice at a fair price,” he said. Sadhan Chandra also warned that those responsible for price hike of essentials would not be spared. According to the food, commerce and agriculture ministries, the government is investigating to find out the syndicate behind the price hike of essentials.

An office order signed by Nurul Islam, senior assistant secretary of food ministry, said the control room is working round the clock to control the price of rice. The office order says if anyone finds traders or hoarders are trying to hike price of rice or other essentials, are requested to inform the control room over the telephone phone numbers –02-9540027 and 01642967727.

Besides, three monitoring teams have been formed to oversee the city’s big wholesale markets to see if the traders are trying to destabilise kitchen market through syndication. The monitoring teams have been asked to prepare report on the prices of essentials and submit it to the ministry concerned. When the monitoring teams will oversee the wholesale and retail market, none could create artificial crisis of the kitchen staples through hoarding.

The office order says tough action will be taken if anybody is found hoarding rice for creating artificial crisis in the market. An official of food ministry said the members of monitoring teams have also been asked to oversee at least three kitchen markets every day. The prices of different verities of rice went up by Tk 4 to Tk 7 in the last week across the country while that of onion came down slightly.

Visiting different kitchen markets in capital Dhaka and its suburbs this correspondent found Miniket rice (grade 1) was selling at Tk 48 per kg. Likewise, ‘Kajal Lata’ price rose from Tk 38 to 46 while that of Najirshail from Tk 50 to Tk 54, Basmati from Tk 46 to Tk 52 and the price of coarse rice shot up from Tk 35 to Tk 38 in the market.

Asked about the cause of rice price spiral, Abdul Halim, a rice trader of Tongi Bazar said the price was increased at the warehouse. Besides, with onion prices still high, various seasonal vegetables have also become dearer, hitting consumers in the capital hard. Although ministers and government officials repeatedly said prices of onion would drop soon, the consumers were yet to get any respite.
Local onions were selling between Tk 220 and 240 a kg in the retail market and the imported ones between Tk 150 and Tk 200 a kg.