Wholesale prices of onion in the port city have started to drop, after four days of market monitoring drives that started on Sunday, but retail prices are not yet reflecting the trend.
Price of onion imported from Myanmar dropped by Tk 20 to Tk 25 per kg at the Khatunganj wholesale hub, where wholesale price of top-grade onion came down to Tk 85 to Tk 90 a kg yesterday against Tk 105 to Tk 110 four days back.
Medium-quality onion imported from Myanmar was sold at Tk 65 at the wholesale warehouses; the price was Tk 85 last week.
Mobarak Hossain, a consumer, said a series of mobile court drives were conducted for the last few days, but general customers are yet to get its benefit as there was no impact of it in the retail markets.
During a visit to different kitchen markets yesterday, most retailers were found selling imported onion ranging from Tk 110 to Tk 125 per kg.
Ali Akbar, a staffer of Makka Store at Karnaphuli Complex, said he had to charge Tk 110 for a kilo of imported onion, since he had to buy it from wholesaler at Tk 105.
Some retail outlets in these markets were, however, seen selling it at a reduced rate of Tk 100 to Tk 105 per kg.
To check the impact of the four-day drives at the wholesale hub -- where the administration on Tuesday set wholesale price of top-quality imported onion at Tk 85 per kg -- a joint team yesterday conducted drives at three different kitchen markets of the city.
Chattogram District Administration and Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) with assistance of commerce ministry and law enforcing agencies conducted drives in the city’s Kazir Dewry Bazar, Karnaphuli Complex at Sholashahar and Bahadderhat kitchen market.
During the drives, eight retail shops and one wholesale trader were fined Tk 1.15 lakh on charges of selling onion at higher prices, as well as for displaying wrong information on price charts.
Selim Hossain, deputy secretary of the commerce Ministry who led the drives, told journalists at Kazir Dewry Bazar that retail price of onion was yet to come down at the expected level.
Many retailers have already started reducing the prices, but those who purchased onions a few days earlier at higher prices from wholesalers are still charging higher, said the deputy secretary.
He hoped that the retail prices would come down gradually below Tk 100 per kg within a few days.
Executive Magistrate Forkan Elahi Anupam said they fined those retailers who were found charging prices over Tk 110 per kg but failed to show valid documents of buying those at higher prices from wholesale market.