Chattogram Bureau: A mobile court led by an executive magistrate has recovered 2,328 litres of soybean oil from a retailers’ house at Chattogram’s Fatikchhari.
The raid was part of a government crackdown amid a significant crisis in the cooking oil market.
The retailer, Akhter Hossain, was fined Tk 40,000 under the Essential Commodities Act. Akhter has a convenience shop at Heyako Bazar in Fatikhchhari.
Magistrate SM Alamgir, also an assistant commissioner (land), said his team raided Akhter’s house in South Gozaria village based on a tip.
“We have recovered oil in sealed bottles of 1, 2 and 3 litres. The bottles have price labels of Tk 160 per litre, which definitively proves that these [the bottles] were stored before the price had gone up the last time,” Alamgir said. Akhter, however, claimed that he had been selling bottled cooking oil
at Tk 180 per litre. But soybean oil was sold at different shops at upwards of Tk 200 per litre.
On Thursday, the price of soybean was increased by Tk 38 per litre across the country to Tk 198.
According to reports, there was still a shortage of cooking oil in the market despite the price hike.
The suppliers claimed that cooking oil stock has yet to hit the market.
Market insiders and government stakeholders are saying that the price hike was made to normalise supply, which was severely interrupted due to higher raw material costs in the international market and rising shipping costs.
The situation worsened as the war between Russia and Ukraine broke out, and Indonesia, one of the largest suppliers of cooking oil, imposed a ban on exports of palm oil on Apr 28.
As a result, cooking oil disappeared from many retail shops in Dhaka, as well as the rest of the country, ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.
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