With the holy month of Ramadan less than one month away, dishonest traders have hiked the prices of essentials in the city kitchen markets. According to a report in yesterday’s Daily Sun, prices of almost all essential items like rice, fish, meat, eggs, milk, edible oil, pulse and sugar have shot up abruptly.
Sadly, this is a common phenomenon ahead of the month of fasting in our country, although in many countries prices of commodities are reduced during this time to help fasting people.To add insult to injury, the authorities concerned comes up with the assurance that prices of essentials wouldn’t increase, or fallaciously claim that it didn’t increase at all.
We do not understand why this mockery with the common people. Especially people belonging to low and middle-income groups undergo torturous situation during the holy month of Ramadan due to the price hike. Apparently, they are a victim of the unending lust for profit of unscrupulous traders and the lackadaisical approach of the authorities concerned.
The Ministry of Commerce which is responsible for checking the unfair commercial practice is seemingly doing little in this regard. This ministry has become a silent spectator of the foul-play that the profit-mongers are playing with the consumers; otherwise, they would have taken timely measures to check the price spiral of necessary commodities.
As Ramadan is still less than one month away, the government should take steps to increase the supply of essential commodities in a bid to bring down their prices. At the same time, continuous monitoring is a must to keep the market stable. Regular mobile court drives should be conducted in city kitchen as well as wholesale markets so that legal action can be taken against dishonest traders.
At the same time, the capacity of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) should be strengthened. It should operate a special programme as part of its open market sale (OMS) programme before the holy month. The OMS programme should be continued until the prices of essentials are brought into the reach of common people; otherwise, they won’t be able to survive.