Just at the outset of the holy month of Ramadan, consumers experienced a sharp increase in prices of essential commodities in the capital. Despite the government’s repeated claim of having sufficient stock of all essentials in the country, people, who have already been hit hard by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, are enduring the bites of price spiral of food items.
The prices of fruits, oil, sugar, onion and all other essential Ramadan food items have started soaring despite the government data showed there is no shortage of essentials in the country. However, prices of vegetables, broiler chicken and egg prices remain stable. Visiting different kitchen markets in the capital on Friday, this correspondent found the price hike of essentials compared to last couple of days.
However, traders are claiming as demand for Ramadan based items has increased, and supply is less due to the lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, the prices of goods have increased. But consumers alleged that, every year during Ramadan traders used the holy month as their profit making season.
They also complained that prices of daily commodities like sugar, rice, pulses, chicken, beef, mutton, and fruits have shot up in local markets. Tara Mia, a consumer at Rampura kitchen market, told this journalist, "Nowadays, traders are enjoying a free hand to fleece the consumers in the holy month despite the government’s claim of sufficient stock of all goods".
The price of medium size lentil is Tk 130 to Tk 140 per kilogram (kg), when big size lentil is Tk 100 a kg. Sugar is available at Tk 65 to Tk 70 per kg, edible oil (loose) is Tk 95 to Tk 100 a kg while bottled oil is Tk 115 a kg, dates based on quality are selling between Tk 300 and Tk 1500 a kg and gram is Tk 75 to Tk 85 a kg in the kitchen market.
On the other hand, prices of onion and ginger have also increased. Per kg onion is now selling at Tk 65 a kg while ginger is Tk 250 to Tk 280 a kg and garlic is selling at Tk 140 to Tk 170 per kg.
Visiting the capital’s Karwan Bazar, Rampura, Malibagh, Santibagh and Kamalapur kitchen markets, it was found that, potato was selling at Tk 30 to Tk 35 per kilogram (kg). Likewise, the bean was selling at Tk 40 per kg, green chili at Tk 20 to Tk 50 a kg, tomato at Tk 40 a kg, karla at Tk 30 to Tk 40 a kg, brinjal at Tk 40 to Tk 55 a kg, papaya at Tk 40 a kg, and cucumber at Tk 30 per kg.
Per kg broiler chicken was selling at Tk 140, Pakistani cock at Tk 150 to Tk 180 per kg, layer chicken at Tk 108 to Tk 200 a kg, while local chicken was selling at Tk 400 to Tk 450 per kg. At present, beef was selling at Tk 590 a kg and mutton was selling at Tk 800 to Tk 850 a kg, which is higher than the previous week.
Commerce Minister TipuMunshi on Thursday at a review meeting on ‘production, stocks and supply situation’ of the essential commodities during the COVID-19 crisis and ahead of the holy Ramadan said there is no reason for shortage of any product as the country has a buffer stock of essential items to meet the demand.
“The country has adequate stocks of all essential commodities, such as rice, pulses, oil, onion, garlic and ginger. The government will take stern action against any artificial product crisis,” he said. He also informed that TCB is selling more products this year compared to previous years.
“About 3,000 dealers, hired by TCB, are selling products on trucks. Already some irregularities have been detected in the sale of goods and strict actions have been taken against the accused as per the law,” he added. At present, a total of 90 market monitoring teams are conducting regular market monitoring activities across the country.