The common people, especially the low, middle and fixed income groups have been hit hard by the price spiral of the essential commodities ahead of Ramadan.
Apart from the soaring prices of daily essentials, the demand for certain commodities such as rice, brinjal, sugar, salt, gram dal, mung lentil, meat, fish, fruits and some vegetables went up ahead of the month of fasting.
Taking advantage of the rise in demand, some unscrupulous traders hiked the prices of most essential commodities to make extra profits during the month of Ramadan, many consumers have alleged.
Experts blamed a lack of market monitoring and surveillance for the price spiral. Prices of different essentials have jumped up by 10-71 percent from the prices of last year’s Ramadan, according to the Department of Agriculture Marketing.
In the year-on-year price hike race, coarse rice tops the chart followed by medium varieties rice, mung lentils, brinjal, beef, ginger, fine rice, sugar, salt took and palm oil.
The price of coarse rice marked an increase by 71.70 percent compared to the last year’s rate while the hike is 12.35 percent in the last 30 days (April 17 to May 17).
The price of medium rice soared by 41.79 percent compared to last year’s rate while the hike was 7.93 percent in last one month.
Mung lentil price increased by 38.89 percent than last year, brinjal price jumped by 25 percent, beef 19.51 percent, ginger (imported) 16.67 percent, fine rice 15.96 percent, sugar 15.52 percent, salt 8.33 percent and palm oil price shot up by 8.15 percent than the rate in last Ramadan.
Over the last 30 days (April 17 to May 17) Mung lentil price increased by 21.95 percent, gram dal 4.21percent, brinjal 15.38 percent, beef 2.08 percent, ginger (imported) 3.70 percent, fine rice 3.81 percent, sugar 5.51 percent and salt price spiked by 12.07 percent.
Sariful Islam, the owner of a grocery store at Mohammadpur, said they have to adjust the prices with the changes in the wholesale markets.
Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan, secretary of Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told daily sun that some greedy businessmen have been manipulating the prices of most essential commodities due to lack of surveillance in the market.
“Lower and fixed income people are facing further hardship due to the price spiral,” he said, adding that random drives should be conducted against the manipulators to keep commodity prices stable during Ramadan.
“Concentrated efforts by different government agencies are needed to thwart price manipulation,” he said.
“The consumers also have a role in keeping the prices at a tolerable level,” Humayun Kabir noted, adding that buying in bulk needlessly ahead of Ramadan increase the demand and prices of commodities.