The government was continuing a massive crackdown against hoarders of soybean oil on Tuesday in the wake of the artificial crisis of the edible oil in the country.
Law enforcers, mobile courts and members of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP) took part in the countrywide drive.
Sources said two shops were fined Tk 3 lakh for selling soybean oil at a higher price at Board Bazar in Gazipur.
DNCRP Assistant Director Md Abdul Jabbar Mandal and Md Magfur Rahman conducted the drive.
During the drive, a total of 2,057 litres of bottled soybean oil of 1 litre, 2 litres and 5 litres of old rate was seized from Messrs. Monir General Store in Board Bazar.
Messrs. Munir's General Store and Messrs. RP Traders of the bazaar were charged with illegal stockpiling of 5,100 litres of open soybean and palm oil at the rate of 204 litres per 25 drums at the previous rate, not displaying the price list properly and selling open soybean oil at a price higher than the price fixed by the government. The shops were fined Tk 3 lakh.
In another drive, DNCRP employees raided a soybean oil shop at Digu Babu Bazar in Narayanganj in the morning. Narayanganj DNCRP Assistant Director Selimuzzaman led the drive.
Following this allegation, the buyer went to buy soybean oil and found the truth of the allegation. Soybean oil was being sold at Tk 200 a litre.
For this reason, Messrs Nepal Store in Digubabur Bazar was fined Tk 20,000.
He also said that raids were also carried out on meat shops in the market. Consumers were being deceived by selling goat meat. The shop was fined Tk 5,000 for the offence.
Some 92,600 litres of soybean oil was seized from four stores in a raid and four persons were arrested in Rajshahi on Tuesday for hoarding the edible oil.
In Kushtia, the DNCRP seized some 40,000 litres of soybean oil and fined three shopkeepers Tk 30,000 for hoarding the edible oil.
Earlier, mobile courts seized 30,000 litres of soybean oil from Dhaka and Chattogram on Monday.
Three grocery shops in Jatrabari of the capital were fined Tk 1.5 lakh on charges of storing 15,000 litres of soybean oil and selling those at a higher price. The shops are Adity Traders, Sifat Trading and Mintu Store.
They stored around 15,000 litres of edible oil in their shops and were charging Tk 34 higher, per litre of oil than the government-fixed prices.
Besides, a team of DNCRP seized 15,000 litres of soybean oil from a shop named Siraj Store at Pahartoli in Chattogram city on Monday.
The team also fined the shop owner Tk 1.7 lakh. Earlier on Sunday, DNCRP seized 1,050 litres of soybean oil from the storage of a retail shop at Karnaphuli Market in Chattogram.
Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi hit out at retailers and wholesalers for taking advantage of the government's "trust" by hoarding products.
His remarks came against the backdrop of a crackdown on hoarders by the DNCRP in Dhaka and Chattogram.
Soybean oil vanished from shelves ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr this month. Later, mill owners decided to raise the price of soybean oil by Tk 40 per litre to around Tk 200 with the consent from the Ministry of Commerce. But the move did little to improve the situation.
According to the DNCRP, traders stockpiled 40,000 tonnes of soybean oil to make huge profits.
“Retail and wholesale traders who have taken advantage of this situation have already been identified. We are taking action against them. But, the problem is they are over a million in number." The minister added.
The DNCRP was conducting the massive drive in the wake of the acute soybean oil crisis on local markets in Ramadan.
The local administration also found 2,328 litres of soybean oil stashed away in the home of a grocer in Fatikchhari on Saturday, according to media reports.