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Writ seeks to find those involved with onion price crisis

  • Published at 05:03 pm November 17th, 2019
onion sell-tcb-mehedi
File photo: People swarm a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh truck selling onion at subsidized rate in the capital on Sunday, November 17, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Onion prices soars to record Tk240-250 per kg in Dhaka's retail kitchen markets over the week

A writ petition has been filed with the High Court seeking its order to find and investigate those involved in the onion price crisis.

Supreme Court lawyer Mohammad Tanvir Ahmed filed the writ with the High Court on Sunday.

He said, "A hearing might be held on the petition before the High Court bench, comprised of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice KM Hafizul Alam."

The writ also urged the court to issue a rule after inquiring why the failure of those in charge of controlling onion prices should not be declared illegal.

Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), among others, has been made respondents in the writ petition.

Over the week, prices of onion in Dhaka's retail kitchen markets soared to record Tk240-250 per kg, with the one imported from Myanmar selling for Tk230-240 per kg.

Prices soared as a section of unscrupulous traders have taken advantage of lax monitoring of the government and kept pushing up the price of the key cooking ingredient, alleged consumers and traders.

Also Read- What can you buy for the price of 1kg onion?

On November 14, the local variety of onion retailed for Tk210-220 per kg, imported onion from Myanmar sold for Tk180-200, onion imported from Turkey sold for Tk160-170 at  Malibagh, Shantinagar and Shukrabad kitchen markets. Prices rose by as high as Tk40-50 in a single day.

At Dhaka’s Karwan Bazar wholesale market, traders were selling a sack of 5kg local onion for Tk950-1,000. On the other hand, 5kg imported (Myanmar) onion were selling between Tk800 and Tk900 and 5kg onion from Turkey were selling at Tk750-800. 

Wholesale onion traders blamed supply shortage and inclement weather for the latest bout of onion price hike.

On November 12, Industries Minister Nurul Majid Mahmud Humayun claimed in parliament that the onion price came under control at a time the key cooking ingredient went beyond the purchasing capacity of the general people. 

Sellers pack onion on TCB truck in front of National Press Club on November 17, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka TribuneMeanwhile, S Alam Group is importing onions from Egypt. The first consignment of onion from would be flown to Bangladesh on November 19, the Ministry of Commerce said on Saturday.

On Friday, the government announced that onion would be bought from abroad on an emergency basis to keep the local market stable.

Prices of some winter vegetables have also increased in the city's kitchen markets. Prices of some varieties of rice increased by Tk3-8 per kg in the city over the week.

On September 29, the Indian government banned the export of onion with immediate effect until further order to improve their domestic availability of onions.

The move came after the Indian government fixed the minimum export price of onion recently to rein in soaring prices in their domestic market. Since then, onion prices in Bangladesh markets have been skyrocketing.

To deal with the undesired situation, the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) started selling onion from early October through the open market sale (OMS) scheme at various points across the capital.

According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) data, on October 15, the price of onion was at Tk80-95 per kg; the price rose to Tk90-100 per kg on October 23; the price rose to Tk120-130 on October 31.