Tuesday, 27 September, 2022

Rice price hike adds to plight of low-income people

BAGERHAT: The prices of all varieties of rice have gone up in the wholesale and retail markets of Bagerhat, creating a suffocating condition for the low-income group people who are already plagued by price hikes of daily essentials.

Wholesale and retail rice markets in the district are witnessing an increase in rice prices by Tk 10 per kilogram and Tk 150 per 25kg sack.

Both the buyers and rice traders are finding it hard to procure rice as per their demands. Traders alleged that rice prices have soared due to syndication by rice mill owners.

While visiting Chaupatti and Nagerbazar wholesale rice markets, the UNB correspondent found that both the buyers and sellers were engaging in altercations over rice price hike.

The rice traders were blaming rise in fuel prices for increases in rice prices. On the contrary, consumers were returning home with rice less than the amount bought by them previously.

In wholesale markets, the staple is being sold at rates between Tk 50 to Tk 85 per kg. Even price of coarse rice has also seen an increase by Tk 5 per kg. Rice traders are asking for prices according to their wish, while rice are being sold in the village markets at higher prices due to multiple handovers.

Pradeep Kumar Saha, a wholesaler of Nagerbazar area, said that they are receiving less rice than they’ve ordered.

“If we order 100 sacks of rice, we only get 20 of them which is creating a crisis. So rice prices have gone up by Tk 6 to Tk 10 per kg. Fuel price hike and syndication by the rice millers are behind this situation,” Pradeep said.

Prabir Saha, a retailer from Falpatti area, also blamed syndication by the rice millers behind rice price hike.

“Prices of rice have increased by Tk 150 to Tk 200 per sack (25 kg) within just one week. We’re regularly facing customers’ wrath for selling rice at a high prices. The situation is such that we may have to stop doing business altogether,” Prabir said.

Gopal Saha, a wholesaler of Nagerbazar, said that people from the lower income bracket is feeling the real punch as the rice variant that they buy is out of stock most of the time.

Taposh Saha, a rice trader from Chaulpatti, said that they can’t even buy rice in the evening at the rate at which they had bought rice in the morning.

“We’ve nothing to do except selling rice at the rate of purchase,” said Taposh.

Md Belal Sheikh, a consumer, said that he had bought a 25 kg sack of rice at Tk 1,300 15 days ago, which he now has to buy at Tk 1,450.

Nasima Begum, another buyer, said that she came to buy a 25kg sack of rice but instead bought only 10kg due to exorbitant prices.

“Rice prices are varying from shop to shop. Traders are asking for prices as they wish. I’m confused about what to do but as prices of almost every essential item is on the rise,” said Nasima.

Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Bagerhat Mohammad Azizur Rahman said that he is aware of the rice price hike in local markets.

“We’re monitoring the market regularly. We’ll conduct drives by mobile court so that no one can sell rice at exorbitant prices,” said the DC.