Prices of essentials spiral ahead of Ramadan

Consumers call for constant market monitoring

Prices of everyday essentials in the city’s kitchen markets have kept surging as the holy month of Ramadan is approaching but the government is yet to take any notable step to ensure constant monitoring over the market and curb unjustified price hike. Despite government’s announcement of strict action against syndicate business that is responsible for price spirals, daily essentials are soaring gradually price-wise.

On April 17, commerce minister Tipu Munshi sent letters to the divisional commissioners asking them to instruct deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers to adopt strong vigilance to check price hike of essentials during the upcoming holy month of Ramadan. However, the opposite scenario is being witnessed in the capital’s kitchen markets with price spiral of daily necessities continuing.

On Friday, almost all kitchen items, including different vegetables, onion, fish, meat and so on, in the capital’s Karwan Bazar, Rampura and Malibagh were found selling at higher prices than those in the previous week. While in the markets, this correspondent found price of onion, potato, papaya, cucumber and brinjal increasing while price of egg slightly went down again this week.

Onion was selling at Tk 30-35 per kilogram (kg), which was Tk 24-28 last week. Similarly, Indian onion was selling at Tk 30 per kg. Traders expressing uncertainty said price may increase further. Based on quality and market, papaya was selling at Tk 50-70 which was sold at Tk 40-50 last week. Potato was selling at Tk 20-22, brinjal TK 60-70, while cucumber was Tk 50-75.

Meanwhile, vegetables remaining stable were bitter gourd at Tk 70, okra at Tk 60, gourd at Tk 60, beans at TK 60, ginger at Tk 90, and garlic at Tk 100 per kg. About the price hike, Karwan Bazar vegetable trader Ibrahim said, this year onion and potato were produced aplenty, price was also reasonable. But as Ramadan is nearing some syndicates have already become active in storing kitchen items, and decreasing product supply against demand in the market.

In the meat market, beef and mutton were selling at Tk 550 per kg and Tk 850 per kg respectively while broiler chicken was selling at Tk 160-175 a kg, red layer chicken at Tk 220 and Pakistani chicken at Tk 280 per kg. But within a week, difference in local kitchen price increased by Tk 100. Fish market was also as in the past week, Chital fish was selling at Tk 500-550 per kg, Awn fish at Tk 650-700, Rui-Katla Tk 300-600 per kg, and tilapia at Tk 150-200, Boal fish at Tk 700-900, Pangas at Tk 180-250, Pabda fish at Tk 600, and Shing at Tk 400-600.

On the other hand, buyers blamed poor market monitoring system of the government for the unusual price hike. They informed, displaying a price board in the market does not mean strong vigilance being conducted by the government. “The government should not limit itself to the announcement of monitoring only; rather it should come to the field. Otherwise, this unhealthy practice will not be stopped”- Aminul a private jobholder who was buying essentials from Karwan bazar told this correspondent.