Take immediate steps to control onion price: Rights body

Onion Price raising in Bangladesh
Star file photo

Claiming that the hike in the onion price is a planned one by a syndicate, a consumer rights body today urged the government to take immediate steps to arrest the skyrocketing price of the cooking ingredient.

Conscious Consumers' Society (CCS) made the call from a press conference titled 'Price anarchy by onion syndicate' at the Jatiya Press Club.

According to the CCS data, the onion price saw a 400 percent hike in four months from July 2 to October 31.

CCS members said although the onion price has gone up exorbitantly over the past two weeks, the initial price hike started on July 2, one month before Eid-ul-Azha.

"From July 2 to October 31, the onion price fluctuated 24 times. A strong syndicate is pulling the strings behind this price hike," said CCS Executive Director Palash Mahmud.

He rejected the excuses of short supply and an increase in import cost as claimed by traders for the hike in the onion price, saying the widespread availability of Indian onion in the market now shows that it was stockpiled by traders much earlier and there was no shortage in supply.

According to government data, the demand for onion across the country is 24 lakh tonnes with local one meeting the need of 16 lakh tonnes.

"Consumers are being scammed in the name of low supply and high import cost of onion...the average cost of onion imported from Myanmar is Tk 34 per kg and the price of per kg onion can in no way exceed Tk 50," Palash said.

According to CCS research, consumers lost Tk 3,179,365,000 over the last four months for the seemingly artificial crisis of onion and the price hike in the country.

The organisation put forward a set of proposals to resolve the current crisis in onion market. The suggestions include conducting drives against syndicate responsible for the price hike and fixing the highest possible price for onion for a certain period.