Low income group in huge trouble
Golam Mostafa Jibon:Despite all efforts of the government, the rice market has become unstable again due to syndicating by a section of unscrupulous traders, hoarders and rice mill owners causing immense suffering to the poor and low income group of people.
Meanwhile, the price of coarse rice has also gone up to Tk 50 per kg. In such a situation, the government has decided to import rice privately to bring the market under control.
According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of coarse rice has gone up by 4 percent, while the price of fine (thin) and medium rice has increased by about 2 percent in the last one month.
Sources said, IRRI or Swarna species of coarse rice is being sold between Tk 48 and Tk 50 per kg on the basis of location. Besides, medium quality rice Paijam and Lata (creeper) are being sold between Tk 50 and Tk 56 per kg, while thin rice Nazirshail and Miniket are being sold between Tk 58 and Tk 65 per kg.
A rice trader of Mohammadpur area in the capital said, the current price of rice in the market is a little bit high.
Mill owners buy and store rice in this season. That is why; the price of rice is higher now. The price of rice is higher in the wholesale market. As a result, the retailers are being forced to sell the rice at a higher price.
Abdul Malek, owner of Rice Mill in Kustia declined the allegations and said, “Not only mill owners, but also some individuals and organizations, who are not directly involved with the rice and paddy business, had illegally stockpiled the rice and paddy with the hope of making more profit. I have to request the government to take action by identifying these individuals and organizations through monitoring.
Meanwhile, to bring the price of rice under control, the government has decided to import 1 million tons of boiled rice initially with 25 per cent import duty. However, the import amount may increase or decrease on the basis of prevailed situation.
Moshammat Nazmanara Khanum, Secretary of the Ministry of Food said, “The price of medium and thin rice is also increasing. We are trying to find out those, who are involved with the rising of rice price illegally. The government wants private sector’s involvement in importing some rice from abroad. With the view, we are taking initiative and moving forwards.”
“Imports will be made as per demand. We want neither the farmer nor the consumer to be harmed. So, as much as is needed will be imported. At present, we are thinking to import around 1 million tons of rice. We also can do more, if needed,” she added. Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said, “Rice is being imported officially and the issue of importing rice privately is under process. Mill owners and traders must be humane towards consumers. No compromise will be made with the high profiteers and illegal hoarders.” “The government has already taken steps to keep rice prices stable to protect the interests of consumers. The market is being monitored, it will be further strengthened. Besides, the campaign against illegal hoarders will start soon,” he added.
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