PERHAPS nowhere else in the world does one notice a sudden rise in prices of essential food items in months of festivities other than in Bangladesh. Come the month of Ramadan particularly, and also Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha, certain items of food preferred by the consumers become dearer.
Admittedly, there is an increase in the demand of these items, but that is not of such a great volume that can explain or justify the two to threefold price rise of all these items. And it is not that there is dearth of these items in the market either. The only reason is the despicable profiteering motive of the sellers who wait for the month of Ramadan to rip the common man off and make whirlwind profits of a year in that one month only.
This has become a nauseating repetitive phenomenon, as have the assurances of the governments and the inevitable results. The buyers are left at the mercy of the sellers.
This time too the commerce minister has assured the countrymen that the government would ensure that the food prices are kept in check. However, some of the essential Ramadan items are already showing an upward tendency and there are reports that some wholesalers have already stocked up on these items to create an artificial shortage.
When the market is manipulated by the sellers to offset the market mechanisms, the government must also intervene to offset that. In addition to seeing that there are no shortages in the market by intervening wherever necessary, it must also move quickly against hoarding as well as ensure strict vigilance on all the major outlets to keep constant check on the prices.