Market to be normal in a month: Tipu Munshi
Selling Tk 30/Kg at 275 spots in 62-dists: TCB
Md Joynal Abedin Khan: The flash surge in the price of onions has hit the markets that made the consumers worried as the government could not show its immediate steps to control the price-hike of cooking ingredient.
Onion prices have increased by Tk 40-50 per kg in the retail and wholesale markets of the country after India suspended export of onion two days ago.
The onion prices remain high despite the conducting of open market sales (OMS) system through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
The sudden price hike triggered a distress among low-income people and many feared that the upward trend might get out of control like the previous year.
Visiting firsthand at different kitchen markets in the city on Wednesday morning, it was seen that Indian onion is being sold at Tk 70 per kg while local onion is being sold at Tk 100 per kg.
Onion traders said the prices remain unchanged on Wednesday and it is unlikely to come down soon. Minarul Islam, owner of onion store in Maniknagar, said that retail prices increased because of the hiking the price in wholesale market in last three days.
Rabiul Islam, another onion trader in Gopibagh Railgate Kitchen market, said he purchased local onion at Tk 85 per kg from wholesale market and selling those at Tk100 per kg.
“I sold Indian onions at Tk 70 per kg yesterday but the price is Tk 75 for today (Wednesday) because wholesale price gone up,” he said.
“Local and Indian onions were selling at Tk 90 and Tk 60 per kg on Tuesday respectively. However, the prices increased by Tk 10 yesterday (Wednesday). Some unethical traders are taking advantage of the situation and squeezing consumers for making some extra-money,” said Lata Rani, resident at Gopibagh.
Meanwhile, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi yesterday said that supply will be normal within in a month after entrances the onion-laden trucks from India.
He blamed a section of unscrupulous traders and panic buying by a section of consumers for sudden abnormal price hike of onions in the markets across the country.
The minister made the comment at a press conference at the secretariat yesterday.
The minister also said his ministry was not aware about the sudden ban on onion export in India that triggered the onion price-hike.
“Nevertheless, I talked to Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das about the sudden suspension of onion export from India. The high commissioner assured me that a good number of onion laden trucks will enter Bangladesh within a day or two,” Munshi said at a room full of journalists while facing a barrage of questions.
While replying the queries of journalists, the minister was defending his claim again and again that there is nothing to be panicked about because there is an adequate stock and supply of onions in the local markets.
Earlier, the TCB started selling of onion at Tk 30 per Kg since September 13, at subsidised rates at 275 spots in 62 districts across the country to contain the price spiral of daily essentials on the market. The OMS programme will continue up to October 1 and sales will take place every day except Friday and Saturday. Currently, around 3,000 dealers are listed with the TCB, according to the minister.
Tipu Munshi also said the government will import a record amount of onion this year due to sudden instability in the onion market.
The annual demand for onion in Bangladesh is about 25,00,000 tonnes and now the country has stock of onions about 6,00,000 tonnes. The deficit of onion to be fulfilled through import from India, China, Turkey and Egypt, he added.