Staff Correspondent : The price of rice in the market increased suddenly during the election last month. Increasingly, the price of rice at the retail level increases up to Tk 6. The food minister called the traders and gave them four days to reduce the prices. The businessmen agreed to it but did not speak. At the retail level, the maximum decrease was two rupees. The minister’s warning, the rice market is not coming under control even with the regular campaign of consumer rights. Buyers caught in the tricks of traders.
After the directive of the food minister (January 17), the Directorate of Food has started an anti-hoarding campaign across the country including Dhaka. Hundreds of organizations are being fined lakhs of rupees every day. There have also been cases of illegally stored paddy and rice being seized and sold at auction. Sometimes the food minister himself goes on expeditions. But even then, the common consumers are not getting the benefits of these scams. Having to buy rice at the retail price.
Although the traders claim that as a result of this operation, the price of paddy and rice has decreased somewhat.
However, the price of rice, which was already high, has actually decreased slightly. That is, the price of rice increased by Tk 6 during the polling period and the next few days, but after the campaign, it decreased by Tk 1.5 to Tk2 per kg in Mokam and wholesale markets. This slight price drop has no impact on retail.
A student named Sohag Hossain came to Malibagh market to buy rice. He is responsible for costing and marketing the food in the mess where he lives. That is why he has been buying rice regularly for several months. He told, “Look, the situation has become like a story of a movie, reducing the price of rice in the market.” First, traders increased the price by Tk5-6. After that, the government showed various tricks. After that the price reduced by Tk1/2. Traders are also happy with that, stupid buyers are also happy.
He said, “By fooling us, the businessmen are looting the benefits, which they get the favor of the government. Because market monitoring is not done properly, what happens is people show. When there is a campaign, it decreases, when it ends, it is the same as before.
Khaled, owner of Comilla Rice Agency, a rice trader in that market, said, “Wholesale rice market is still high.” We have heard that prices have dropped in Mokam. But in reality, it can be said that the prices have increased where they increased during the polls. So, the price did not fall in the retail market. If wholesale prices fall, retail prices will fall.
Price of rice increased by Tk six
It can be seen that the price of rice, which was already at a high price, has decreased slightly in several markets of Dhaka. In the market, miniket rice has increased by Tk 6 per kg, but at the retail level, it has decreased by a maximum of Tk 2.
Miniket rice is now being sold at Tk 68 to Tk 72 per kg in the big market, which was Tk 65-66 a month ago. And after the vote Tk71 to Tk72 were sold. Miniket is still being sold at Tk72 to Tk75 in the retail market.
Thus Bri-28 variety of rice has increased from Tk55 to Tk60, but now it is being sold at 58 taka, Swarna has increased from Tk50 to Tk55, but now it is being sold at Tk53-54.
However, rice traders say that the price of rice in the mill market and wholesale market has started to come down. The retail market will also be affected in a few days.
Sahidur Rahman Patwari, Vice President of Bangladesh Auto, Major and Husking Mill Owners Association told, “Prices are not the same as before. reduced a lot. But the wholesale and retail traders are not reducing the prices compared to that. They tend to make more profit.
He said, “Though it is a full season, now the farmers do not have paddy.” At the beginning of the season, a class of hoarders bought paddy and stored it. As they reduced the supply, the prices in the market went up. But due to various operations across the country for the past three weeks, the supply of rice in the market has increased.
Price of rice negotiated
Most of the rice sold in the country’s market comes from Kushtia and the northern region. Now the traders of the two regions are blaming each other for the increase in the price of rice. Abdur Rashid, the rice mill owner and businessman of Kushtia region, complained, “The rice mill owners of Kushtia do not increase the price of rice arbitrarily.” Some corporate rice traders in North Bengal had increased the price of rice. No paddy owner in this region earns a single rupee per kg.
Meanwhile, Nirod Baran Saha, president of Naogaon District Rice Traders Association in the northern region, told, “Kushtia traders have made the market more volatile.” That is why in the meeting with the food minister they answered yes sir about reducing the price. But the price of rice has not come down properly in their situation.
He said, “The price of rice may be more or less depending on the region due to the cost of transportation. However, this issue does not affect the market in that way. Because the traders who buy rice from Mokam in the wholesale market, consider the cost and buy it wherever they can get it cheaper.
There is a tendency among traders to blame one party on the other for the increase in the price of rice in the market. Rice mill owners are blaming paddy traders. And the rice traders are putting this responsibility on the mill owners. Some are also accusing the corporate companies of increasing the price of rice.
So many raids and fines
On January 18, upazila food controller and law enforcement forces conducted a raid on Oriental Agro Products in Birol upazila of Dinajpur. At this time, there is an additional 225 tons of rice stock than the authorized stock. The government seized the stored rice at that time.
The upazila administration also filed a case against the mill owner under the Special Powers Act of 1974. Besides, the seized paddy is sold through open auction on the spot.
Such incidents are not only in Dinajpur, every day cases and fines are being filed all over the country for illegal stock seizure, lack of food gain license and other necessary documents, lack of price list and sale of paddy and rice at high prices. Every day, the Ministry of Food is giving hundreds of thousands of taka penalty information to hundreds of establishments. Even then the rice market is not stabilizing.
What minister said
Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder has claimed that the price of rice has decreased at all levels from millgate to retail as a result of the anti-hoarding campaign. He made this demand in the conference room of the Ministry of Food last Tuesday afternoon. Meanwhile, Minister of Agriculture. Abdus Shaheed and Commerce State Minister Ahsanul Islam Titu were present.
However, he also said, now the tendency of businessmen at all levels to make a profit is very high. The retailer wants to make a profit of Tk 4-5 per kg. There is a huge price difference between millgate and retail market.
He said in that meeting that the government has decided that the price of rice should be written on the bag to prevent the tendency of increasing the artificial price by increasing the stock. Millgate price, paddy variety and production date should be mentioned on the bag. Buyers can know the price of Milgate.
Sadhan Chandra Majumdar also said that the work of making the rules of Foodstuffs Production, Storage, Transfer, Transport, Supply, Distribution and Marketing (Prevention of Harmful Laws) Act 2023 is going on. It will be implemented soon. This will reduce the tendency of traders to make extra profit in rice.
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