People suffer immensely
Golam Mostafa Jibon : As the people of the country are facing immense suffering due to unbridled price hike of several essential commodities including Soybean oil, right then the price hike of rice has added additional misery to the poor and middle-class people.
At least 16 groups and unscrupulous Mill owners in the country are mainly responsible for the sudden price hike of rice.
Besides, rumor and poor monitoring system of the authorities concerned are also blamed for it.
Insiders said, the rice wholesale market has suddenly become volatile. The price of rice has gone up by at least Tk 300 to Tk 500 per 50 kg sack in less than a week. Rice is being sold at an additional price of Tk 5 to Tk 10 per kg. In the wholesale market, the most common quality fine rice is being sold above of Tk 62 per kg.
Boro harvesting is now going on in full swing. The government is claiming a bumper yield of Boro paddy this year. However, the price of rice is on the rise during the peak season of Boro harvesting putting poor and middle-class people at misery.
In the meantime, wholesale traders are blaming 16 industrial groups and someMill owners in the country involved in the rice trade on the question of why prices are rising in the rice-harvesting season. They allegedthat, the rice market has been destabilized by spreading rumors that there will be food shortage in the country like Sri Lanka.
A rice trader, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, “Now is the season for rice. This time, the cropsare being harvested. Farmers have got good yield. Now there is no reason to increase the price of rice. Rice is being stored in warehouse. Rice is not coming in the market. Rumors have been circulating in the market before stocking that there will be food shortages like Sri Lanka, rice prices will rise abnormally. Panic spread after saying this. The industrial groups that buy more rice, buy it and store it in warehouses. Mill owners are also taking the opportunity. They have also stored rice. Rice from different districts including the northern part of the country is sold to wholesalers and retailers in Dhaka. It has been found that the prices of eight types of rice have gone up in one week.
According to the information provided by the traders, a-50 kg sack of Jirashail rice was sold at Tk 2,600 last week. On Friday, the rice is being sold at Tk 3100. It has increased by Tk 10 per kg. The price of Miniket boiled rice (50 kg sack) has increased from Tk 2100 to Tk 2400. It has increased by Tk 6 per kg. The price of domestic Swarna boiled rice has increased from Tk 1950 to Tk 2200. The price has increased by Tk 5 per kg. Paijamboiled is being sold at Tk 2,300 per 50 kg sack after increasing by Tk 200. The price has increased by Tk 4 per kg.
Besides, the price of Beti Atap, Paijam Atap, Chinigura and Katari Atap has also increased by Tk 200 per 50 kg bag. Last week Beti Atap was sold at Tk 2100, but this week it is being sold at Tk 2300. Paijam Atap is being sold at Tk 2,400 this week, Chinigura at Tk 5,000 and Katari Atap at Tk 3,500. The prices of these four types of rice have increased by Tk 4 per kg. Traders said, there are 16 big industrial groups, which have got down in the rice business. They supply the rice in the country in packaged form. They also bought rice and kept it in stock. As a result, the price of rice, like soybean oil, has risen by at least Tk 600.
Traders have also made two proposals to control the rice market. A number of traders have suggested tightening the official monitoring system in warehouses and conducting operations, if necessary and allowing limited imports of rice from Vietnam, Thailand and India.
Rice trader Ikbal Hossain said, “Imported 50 kg sack of rice can be sold for a maximum of Tk 2,500. But now there is no quality rice below Tk 2600 in the market. If import is allowed, there will be competition. The syndicate will break up. Mill owners will be forced to release rice from the warehouse. Besides, monitoring system in warehouses needs to be strengthened now. Otherwise, the future is dark. The price of rice will go up further.
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