Lower-middle income groups face immense sufferings
Golam Mostafa Jibon: The prices of different essential commodities have gone up abnormally in the last two days causing immense sufferings to the low and middle income groups of people during the ongoing unwritten lockdown across the country.
Artificial crisis created by an influential syndicate is blamed for the recent price hike of different essential commodities including hand sanitizers.
Low and middle income groups of people face immense sufferings for the artificial crisis and skyrocket price hike of essential goods during the unwritten lockdown.
The government can’t control the unscrupulous traders even after conducting various drives and increasing surveillance. The situation has now taken more serious turn as the country is going through an unwritten lockdown centering the recent epidemic outbreak of deadly Coronavirus.
Though, the government has imposed a directive to shut down all shopping malls except grocery shops, super malls and pharmacies due to the prevailed condition of coronavirus outbreak, the traders are realizing additional prices of different essential goods taking the advantage.
Experts said, though, people have been asked by the government not to come out of home without major necessity, they are being forced to come out to purchase essential commodities including rice, onion, edible oil, potato, egg, meat and chicken for their living in homes. Basically, the demand of purchasing by the common people has increased several times high centering the directive of the government on staying homes to protect from Coronavirus.
Taking the advantage, the unscrupulous traders are realizing additional prices against each type of goods putting the buyers at hostage. They are making money overnight on the plea of short supply.
Meanwhile, both the Food and Commerce Ministry have claimed that there is no shortage of essential goods in the country, the traders are realizing additional money against each goods on excuse of short supply due to lack of proper monitoring by the authorities concerned in this disaster moment.
Food Ministry claimed that, around 35 lakh tons of rice has been produced additionally in the country compared to the demand. Besides, the government earlier took an initiative to import rice from abroad as per necessity. Bangladesh Bank on January 30 issued a circular giving 15 percent subsidy on rice importing. At present, there are around 17 lakh metric tons of food grains in the government stock. Of them, around 13 lakh tons are rice, while rest is wheat. However, the price of various varieties rice has increased by Tk 12 to Tk 15 in less than last two days.
Sadhon Chandra Mozumdar, Minister for Food affairs Ministry said, “The government will sell rice at Tk 10 per Kg as per need during the country’s crisis moment.”
He asked the people not to purchase huge quantity of goods in fear of crisis. He also assured to keep the essential price under control during the upcoming Ramadan month. But, his assurance is not becoming effective for want of monitoring at essential market.
Despite the huge stock, dishonest traders have increased the prices of essential goods illogically during the period and eve of the Ramadan, locals claimed.
While visiting to different essential markets and super-shops in the city yesterday during the undeclared lockdown, this correspondent found that traders were realizing additional prices against each goods including rice, sugar, oil, egg, soap, shampoo, hand-sanitizer, potato, fish, meat and pulse. Even, medicine shopkeepers were realizing additional prices of different essential drugs on excuse of short supply.
Sources said, a Kg of Swarna, Paizam or BR-28 variety of rice is now being sold between Tk 50 and Tk 60 on the basis of location against the price between Tk 25 and Tk 40 two days ago. The prices of so-called Miniket and Nazirshail have gone more up.
A litter of loose Soybean oil is now being sold between Tk 95 and Tk 96 on the basis of location, while the price of per litter loose Soybean oil was at Tk 90 two days ago.
A litter of Soybean oil with bottle is being sold between Tk 105 and Tk 110 on the basis of places, while the price of such bottled Soybean was Tk 95 two days ago.
Similarly, Mosur Pulse is now being sold between Tk 120 and Tk 130 against the price at Tk 90 few days ago.
The prices of Potatoes, onions, garlic, eggs, fishes, beefs and chicken have increased in a competitive mood.
Fatik Chand, a rickshaw puller yesterday told The Daily Industry that, “I did not get adequate passengers like earlier as most of the city’s roads remained empty due to the government restriction centering the Coronavirus outbreak. But, I was surprised, when went to a grocery shop to purchase some essential goods for my family. The shopkeepers realized additional prices against all goods showing excuse of short supply.”
“Now, I am thinking that, how I shall survive in the upcoming days without earning,” he said amid severe frustration.
While contacted over cell phone, Advocate Humayun Kabir, General Secretary of Consumer Association of Bangladesh (CAB) said, “Traders have been realizing additional prices against all commodities spreading panic among the people. Finding no way, people are purchasing double quantity of goods to make stock in their homes to face any kind of crisis during the undeclared lockdown. Due to the uncontrolled attitude of the businessmen, poor and distressed people are now in mesery.”
“If monitoring measure is not increased at essential market, many people will suffer immensely for want of foods in the upcoming days. This is why, the government should take stern action right now,” he added.