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Some TCB onion ends up in market

  • Published at 12:31 am November 19th, 2019
onion sell-tcb
People swarm a Trading Corporation of Bangladesh truck selling onion at subsidized rate in the capital on Saturday, November 16, 2019 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

Some of the buyers said they were standing in the line since early morning to buy onion from the OMS trucks and lamented that most of them could not get onion and had to return empty-handed

Allegations have it that a section of people are buying onion at subsidized rate from open market sale trucks of Trading Corporation of Bangladesh and selling it in market at higher prices to make quick money. 

In independent investigation, Dhaka Tribune has found the allegation to be true. 

Shahina Akter (not real name) was found trying to sell two kilograms of onion to some small shops at Rampura Bazaar in the capital, with the shopkeepers bargaining over the price. “This is TCB’s onion; the quality is not good, so I will give you only Tk80 a kg,” said a shopkeeper.

Asked why she was selling TCB’s onion to others, she said: “Onion price is now high. Most people cannot afford it. If I sell it, I can earn some money while others will get onion at lower prices.”

Like Shahina, some other people were found selling TCB onion to others. Not only poor people, but also some restaurants are buyers of the TCB onion. 

Visiting Khamarbari and Farmgate on Monday, Dhaka Tribune found huge crowds in front of the OMS trucks and the dealers were finding it difficult to manage the pressure of consumers.

Some of the buyers said they were standing in the line since early morning to buy onion from the OMS trucks and lamented that most of them could not get onion and had to return empty-handed.

Previously, a person was allowed to buy two kg onion, but now each person is allowed only one kg. To manage an extra amount, most people are standing in the queues with family members.

Badal Miya from Farmgate got two kg onion standing in the line twice. When asked if he would sell the onion, he said he worked in a shop and would sell it at the shop.

This correspondent approached some restaurants in the guise of a seller of onion. When asked if they would buy onion, employees of a restaurant at Farmgate took the correspondent to the manager. 

“How much do you want to sell?” asked the manager. When he was told that he would get six kg, he said: “I won’t give you more than Tk100 a kg. You will get Tk500 in total. But if it is TCB onion, we will see the onion first to check the quality."

He gave his mobile number and asked for the onion.

Contacted over the issue, TCB spokesperson Humayun Kabir said: "We know nothing of this. If you see anyone selling TCB onion to others at higher prices, you can inform us or call police. They will take the action."

“Our mobile team is monitoring the onion trucks. Every day our 35 trucks change their place so that everyone can get onion. We've got no time to see if someone is selling the onion to others,” he added.

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