Soaring Prices of Essentials: Low-income people hit hard
Riazul Haque, manager of a wholesale rice shop in the capital's Mirpur, usually goes to Kachukhet kitchen market with Tk 500 every Friday.
The amount was enough for buying essentials for his five-member family until last week. But it is not enough anymore as prices of essentials have gone up further this week. Yesterday, he had to cut items from his purchase list.
"I am shocked at the high prices of essentials. Prices of ginger and garlic have gone up. Ginger now sells for Tk 300 per kg, up from Tk 150 per kg last week. The same goes with garlic which now costs Tk 180 a kg, a rise by Tk 60 from last week," he said, expressing frustration.
Even vegetables have become costlier than the previous week. There is no vegetable that can be bought for less than Tk 30 a kg. Most of the vegetables are selling for Tk 50 or above per kg, Riazul said.
He bought only 250 grams of ginger and 250 grams of garlic. He couldn't buy vegetables and spinach.
"This week I will have to eat potato as the only vegetable. My wife works at a garment factory. Our sufferings are growing despite the fact that we both earn," he added.
Mohammad Waliullah, a resident of Tejturi Bazar, who works for a gas company, said he earns Tk 50,000 a month.
"Once I was able to run my four-member family with a much less income. But I am currently struggling to bear my family expenses due to the rising prices of essentials. The prices have gone up significantly in the last six months and that's why I need to compromise on my shopping budget," he told The Daily Star at Karwan Bazar.
Jamal Uddin, a temporary employee at a government office at Karwan Bazar, said he stopped visiting his village home in Laxmipur for the last few months to cope with the rising living costs in Dhaka.
"This price hike is just too much for a person like me who gets a monthly salary of Tk 16,000. Be it vegetable, fish or grocery, there is no item whose price has not gone up. Last month, I could send Tk 7,000 to my wife living at village. But this month the amount has come down to Tk 6,000."
Visiting five kitchen markets in the capital's Karwan Bazar, Kachukhet, Farmgate, Sheorapara and Ibrahimpur, this newspaper found that the slight relief which people had at the beginning of the winter with regards to prices of essentials was no longer there.
The price of ginger has almost doubled in just a week. Spinach was selling for Tk 15-20 a bundle yesterday, up from Tk 10 last week. Eggs were being sold for Tk 130 a dozen yesterday against last week's price of Tk 110.
Cauliflowers were selling for Tk 40-50 each yesterday, up from Tk 20-30 last week.
Nur Islam, a ginger and garlic trader at Karwan Bazar, said supply of the two items dropped recently due to dollar crisis as large quantities are imported from China.
Abu Sufian, a vegetable vendor at Kachukhet kitchen market, said he has been selling vegetables for 20 years. He sold bitter guard for Tk 140 per kg, ridge gourdfor Tk 130 and pointed gourd for Tk 110 yesterday.
"I never saw such high prices of these three vegetables in my business life," he added.
He said most of the people are buying less, but there are some buyers for whom price is not a factor.
The prices of meat, fish and broiler chicken increased by Tk 10-Tk 20 per kg yesterday than the previous week.