The income of most of the people has gone down during the coronavirus pandemic. At such a time, price hike of essentials will create things even more difficult for the masses.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of pulse has gone up by 2.22 per cent in the last seven days while it was 10.45 per cent for potato. The price of local onion has shot up by 20 per cent and the exported ones 11.76 per cent. Local ginger is now 11.11 per cent more costly while boiler chicken is 2.08 per cent more pricey. The prices of rice and hilsa have also increased of late.
The businessmen at the beginning of the pandemic had blamed the price hike on the lack of transport system. However, things have got better now and the supply chain is close to normal and so is import of products. But now they are saying that cyclone Amphan and flood have reduced production of agri products. As a result, there are lack of supply of rice, lentils, vegetables, potatoes, onions, chickens and eggs, they maintain.
The cyclone and flood may have disrupted production of the local products. But how come edible oil, sugar, ginger and spices, products that are mostly imported saw price hikes? Experts say a syndicate is behind such anomalies in the market. Previously anyone could import these items. But now only a few syndicates can do so, and they control the prices as per their wish.
The government should take immediate steps against these greedy businessmen. Uninterrupted supply of the products has to be ensured because lack of supply leads to price hike. Second;y, there should be a monitoring team who will ensure the syndicates cannot create a fake crisis in the market, with a view to increase the price. Recently when a mobile court fined a few businessmen in Chattogram's Khatunganj, they staged a demonstration, which further upped the price of onion.
If there is a crisis, the government should take steps to market the product. According to media reports, TCB started selling onions at open market on Saturday. The government says there is no scarcity of rice supply. Then why on earth the price is increasing? The harvest of aman paddy has been hit hard due to Amphan and floods. Rice import should now get priority. The government should realize that prices of everything go up when a hike in the price of rice cannot be contained. They should act immediately to for the sake of the common people.