Retail prices of onion from Myanmar and India have shot up by Tk 10-20 per kg in port city’s kitchen markets in last one week with the excuse of high prices at wholesale hub.
A mobile court of Chattogram district administration yesterday fined two “arat” (warehouse) owners for selling onion from Myanmar at higher prices at Khatunganj wholesale market.
The team fixed wholesale prices of onion [imported from Myanmar] at Tk 50-55 per kg and Indian onion at Tk 60-65 a kg and warned the traders of stern action if they do not follow the rates.
While visiting kitchen markets in the morning and afternoon, retailers were found selling Indian onion at Tk 90-95 a kg while the price was Tk 75 last week. Retail prices of onion [Myanmar] rose to Tk 80 per kg in last few days while it was Tk 70 last week.
Mohammad Suman, a retailer at Karnaphuli CDA Market who was selling Indian onion at Tk 90 a kg, blamed higher prices at [Khatunganj] wholesale hub. He said he bought Indian onion at Tk 78 per kg from there five days ago while wholesalers were charging Tk 84 on Monday.
Yesterday, Khatunganj wholesalers were selling Indian onion at Tk 80-85 per kg and onion from Myanmar at Tk 70-72. During the drive, Executive Magistrate Md Towhidul Islam fined M/s Azmir Bhandar and Shah Amanat Traders Tk 20,000 each for selling [Myanmar] onion at Tk 70. He said import cost of those was Tk 42 per kg.
Md Idris, a commission agent involved in selling and buying onion, said they could have lowered the prices of Indian ones two weeks back after some 500 trucks full of onion, booked before the Indian export ban, entered the country on October 4-5.
The quality of those was not good and they sold those at Tk 60-70 a kg, said Idris.
He claimed a few more previously-booked onion-laden trucks have come during last couple of days but the prices are much higher and depot owners are not being able to sell those at lower prices now.
He said every day 15-20 trucks full of onion from Myanmar are arriving at Khatunganj but 40 to 50 percent of those are of bad quality. The warehouse owners are forced to sell those at Tk 25-40 a kg; so they are charging higher prices for the apparently good ones to minimise the loss, they said.
Terming the arat owners’ allegations just “lame excuse”, Magistrate Towhidul said only 5-10 percent of onions from Myanmar could have gone bad during transport. Importers and commission agents are taking advantage of the situation, he said. He said they are collecting names of importers and agents -- who are making the market unstable.
Mentionable, around 8,500 tonnes of onion have been imported from Myanmar in last 15 days, which entered the country through Teknaf, said Bikash Ranjan Barua, assistant revenue officer of Teknaf customs.