Whose responsibility is it to break the syndicate?

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

When the prices of daily commodities are soaring uncontrollably, we aren’t hearing any statements from the ministers about what will be done. Different ministers give different statements, which confuses the public even further.

State minister for industries Kamal Ahmed Majumder has said in a workshop recently, “I’ve seen people crying in the kitchen market. The market situation is such that they dodn’t have enough money in their pockets. And syndicates are the sole reason for this.”

Talks of syndicate have been going around for quite a long time, but none have bee actually caught.

The state minister said, “There’s syndicates among ministers as well.” The people would’ve been benefitted as well as the tumultuous condition in the market would’ve ended, if he had just disclosed the names of those ministers in the syndicate.

Prothom Alo reports, the price of local onions has soared even higher both in the retail and wholesale markets of the capital. This is indeed worrying. Onion prices are increasing every single day.

Within a week’s difference per kilogram of onion cost Tk 12 to 15 extra on the retail level and Tk 8 to 10 on wholesale last Thursday. The import of Indian onion being suspended has had an effect of on the market.

Whereas two months back, local onion farmers had demanded the government to stop importing onions. Their argument was that the yield of onion has been good this time and additional import will deprive farmers of fair price.

This year, there has been record production of onion in India as well. And the price is low for the farmers there have been denied of fair price, since there was no export. In India, onion is sold at Rs 30 to 35 per kg (one rupee equals 1.29 taka).

Exactly what changed in the last two months that a dire crisis of onion has arisen in the market. Does that mean the syndicate has entered the onion market as well, as termed by the state minister for industries?

Earlier there have been mention of syndicates in rice, sugar and edible oil markets too. Right when the onion market is tumultuous, commerce minister Tipu Munshi is assuring us that onion will be imported if the price hike continues.

This statement of his doesn’t clarify whether we actually have a shortage of onion, or the syndicate’s scams have raised the price.

If there really is a shortage of onions, why didn’t the government take necessary steps in advance? Even if it’s decided to import onion right now, it will take time for the price to fall.

In the meantime the syndicate (according to the state minister for industries, even ministers are included) will feast on extra profits. How many times the government will provide such syndicates benefits to take extra and unfair profits?  

Whereas in Kolkata onion sells at Rs 30 to 35 per kg it is being sold at Tk 80 in here. No effective steps have yet been taken in this matter on the government’s part. Common consumers are helpless in the tumultuous onion market.  

This isn’t supposed to happen if the government has the exact figures of onion’s demand and production.

People in this country already have bitter experiences with onion market. Wasting time by saying let’s see what happens doesn’t seem like an option in this situation.

Eid-ul-Adha is around the corner. In addition to importing onion or taking necessary steps market monitoring has to be strengthened right now.

The government cannot surrender again and again before a visible or invisible syndicate.