The spiralling of prices of essentials before and during Ramadan has become the norm in the country, no matter how unethical the practice is. Every year, unscrupulous traders increase the prices of essential food items through syndication before Ramadan and despite government’s repeated assurances that they would check the price hikes, the prices never go down. This year is no exception. After visiting at least six kitchen markets and different grocery stores in the city, The Daily Star correspondents found that the prices of grocery items, including onion, garlic, sugar and chickpea, as well as other vegetables have already gone up. What is more, this year the prices of the daily necessities hiked even before Shab-e-Barat.
If both the stock and supply of the goods at the markets are adequate, as claimed by the government, why then have the prices increased? And if it is the dishonest businessmen who are behind this, why doesn’t the government take strict action against them? Also, why are there no updated price charts at the city’s kitchen markets, which are supposed to be maintained by the city corporations?
The government agencies concerned, including the city corporations, the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), must sit with the traders’ associations—wholesalers and retailers—and come up with a proper plan to keep the market stable during Ramadan. In addition, the government’s market monitoring schemes should be strengthened and legal steps should be taken against the dishonest businessmen to ensure that the prices of essential commodities remain within the reach of ordinary people.