Sacks of rotten onion, from Khatunganj wholesale market in Chattogram, have been dumped into the Karnaphuli River and its adjacent landfills amid the skyrocketing price hike of the essential cooking ingredient across the country.
Some 10 to 15 sacks of rotten onion were dumped in Chaktai canal adjacent to Karnaphuli River on Friday night.
Prior to that, cleaning workers of Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) cleaned up some 20 tons of rotten onion from different landfills, adjacent to Khatunganj wholesale market in the port city on Thursday.
On Saturday, some sacks of rotten onions were noticed abandoned at the Khatunganj wholesale hub too, according to media reports.
Abul Bashar, owner of Khatunganj Trading, told media that, there are some 15 to 20 cold storages at the wholesale market. Some 100 to 150 sacks of onion are being rotten per day at a cold storage.
“It takes more than one week to bring in onion from Myanmar. Onion is being rotten due to hot weather and lengthy import process. As a result, importers are incurring huge amount of loss daily,” he said.Prices of onions were Tk 40 to 50 for a kg one and a half months ago, but the price skyrocketed to Tk 250 to 260 per kg, which is a record high for this year.
Prices of onion -- a key ingredient in Bangladeshi kitchen -- started soaring after India banned its export on September 29. The following day, onion cost about Tk 47 more per kg.
The higher prices prompted many businesses to import the spice from Myanmar. But the prices still keep soaring.
Local onion was being sold at Tk 250 to 260 per kg in retail markets across the country while the onion exported from Myanmar was being sold at Tk 230 to 240 per kg and Egypt at Tk 190 to 200 per kg on Saturday.
An artificial crisis created by syndicates of importers and various groups in different areas is behind the unusual hike in onion prices, traders alleged.
They said it would take 30 to 45 more days for locally-produced onion to enter the markets as cyclone ‘Bulbul’, hailstorms and heavy rains damaged the crop.
Therefore, it will take one month more to cool down the overheated onion market.