Prices of various essential commodities, especially vegetables, have risen precipitously in the capital’s markets ahead of Ramadan despite government efforts to regulate prices.
Visiting the different kitchen markets of the capital including Kawranbazar, Mohammadpur, Sukrabad, Kolabagan and Hatirpul on Saturday, this reporter saw that prices of essentials had almost doubled or even tripled in some cases.
Even though the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh(TCB) had fixed the prices of many of the commodities, wholesalers and retailers appeared to be ignoring the charts displayed in the markets.
Prices of aubergine, green chili, cucumber, tomato, bitter gourd, potato, green papaya, pointed gourd, ladies finger, garlic, chickpea, coriander leaf, meat, mutton, fish, sugar, rice, pulses, date and puffed rice have been hiked significantly.
Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed had earlier warned of stern action against those who will try to manipulate the supply and prices of commodities during the month of holy Ramadan.
Prices of green chili were Tk80-130 per kg, aubergine Tk80-100, cucumber Tk60-100, Jhinga Tk60-80, coriander leaf Tk 220-260, potato Tk20-30, Tomato Tk40-60, lentil Tk90-100, Rui fish Tk350-380, date Tk120-700, puffed rice Tk65-100, coarse rice Tk48-56, sugar Tk70-80 and lemon Tk 5-6.50 apiece in these markets.
Mutton was sold at prices of Tk750-800 a kg against the fixed rate of Tk725. Beef was traded at Tk500-520 a kg on Saturday, whereas the city corporations’ fixed rate is Tk475 a kg.
Bitter gourd was sold for Tk80-100, pointed gourd Tk40-60, green papaya Tk40-55 and pulse for Tk80-130 in the chicken markets of the city on Saturday.
Last week, the price of green chili was Tk30-40 per kg, aubergine Tk30-40, cucumber Tk25-35, Jhinga Tk35, coriander leaves Tk180-200, lemon Tk12-16 per haali (four pieces) Potato Tk.20-25, Tomato Tk25-35, lentil Tk70-80, fish Rui a kg Tk200-230, date Tk 80-580 and puffed rice Tk55-60, rice coarse Tk 42-45 and sugar Tk65-70 in the markets.
Tamanna Begum, who came to get groceries at Karwan Bazar, said: “We have to buy these daily essential commodities. We have no alternative. Monitoring the markets is the government’s job. We want the government to be active so that traders cannot hike prices. The price hike is an immense burden for poor people.”
Ahmed Jamil, a vegetable trader of Hatirpul kitchen market, said: “How can we follow the Dhaka South City Corporation chart? We bought aubergine for Tk70 a kg from the wholesale market in Kawranbazar but the DSCC wants the retail price to be Tk65. This is absurd.
“Also, we get massive pre-orders for different products from restaurants ahead of Ramadan but there is a shortage in the market. That’s’ why prices have increased.”
Retailers blamed the soaring prices of vegetables on a supply shortage.
“Traders are making excessive profits in the name of a supply crunch,” Jamil said.