Drive to control commodity prices during Ramzan
Kazi Zahidul Hasan :
The Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has planned to launch an intense market monitoring drive from the first day of Ramzan with a view to curbing artificial price hike of essentials during the fasting month.
As per the plan, it has already formed 14 market monitoring teams comprising officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Home and Industries, both the city corporations, local administration, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) and Directorate of National Consumers Rights Protection (DNCRP).
They will conduct the drive in city markets from the very first day of Ramzan.
"Our teams will conduct the drive in city markets with a view to controlling price hike of commodities and food adulteration during the holy month of Ramzan," Commerce Secretary Subhasish Basu told The New Nation yesterday.
He said the teams led by one magistrate will visit the city's kitchen markets and examine the price lists at the wholesale and retail level,
check food adulteration, proper weighting, price tags on packed commodities and BSTI authorization for marketing a product.
Dhaka district administration and BSTI will also carry out mobile courts operations during Ramzan to keep commodity prices stable.
"Traders will face financial penalty, detention and other legal punishments if they are found involved in illegal acts," warned Subhasish Basu. He said the market monitoring drive is expected to shield the traders' bid to hike commodity prices artificially.
The Commerce Secretary also said that the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) will also be utilized properly to maintain stability in the commodity market.
TCB has already begun sell of five essentials Ramzan items, soybean oil, sugar, red lentil, grams, and dates, across the country as part of the government's effort to maintain stability in commodity market.
The essentials will be available at 10 TCB sale-centers, 2,784 dealers and 184 truck sale stations points across the country. Of the 184 truck sale points, 32 will be stationed at different points in the capital. The divisional and district administration will also conduct regular market monitoring drive and mobile courts operations and examine supply situation so that market prices remain stable.
"I hope prices of essentials will remain normal during the Ramzan taking advantage of the government's measures and their supply and stock situation in the country," said Subhasish Basu. Meanwhile, prices of most commodities started soaring in the market ahead the holly Ramzan, causing tension to consumers.
Despite adequate supply, prices of edible oil, flour, lentil, garlic, onion, gram, dates, potato, eggs, broiler chicken and vegetables have already gone up in the city's kitchen market.