Rice prices have shot up by Tk10 per kilogram in Benapole allegedly following a rumour that Indian rice imports would be suspended for nearly a month and half.
According to sources at Benapole port, Indian exporters sent an anonymous letter to several ports in Bangladesh on Wednesday which said that India will discontinue exporting rice to Bangladesh from September 15 till November 30.
However, 100 truckloads of rice were still imported through the port last Friday.
Benapole Customs Commissioner Shawkat Hossain Bhuiyan confirmed that the news about the import halt is fake.
Bangladeshi importers have observed that Indian exporters might be involved in a conspiracy to create an artificial crisis so they can increase the value of Letter of Credit (LC).
Though a class of businessmen are benefitting from the hike, low-income people are suffering, they added.
Sources at the port have said the duty-free imported rice was being unloaded at the port.
About 3,000 tons of rice was imported last week at the price of $535 per ton.
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Aminul Haque, vice president of the port's Import-Export Association said: “Some people spread the news without verifying it. Even a few newspapers published the news about the anonymous letter.”
He alleged that the Indian importers are directly involved in the matter.
Following the rumour, the import price of the rice increased to $55 per ton, leading to a Tk10 hike per kilogram, he added.
Monir Hossain Majumder, general secretary of the Benapole chapter of Bangladesh Land Port Employees' Union, said that until now, rice imported from India through the port has remained uninterrupted.