Tuesday, November 24, 2020 | ePaper

Price hike of essentials drives people into poverty

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Reza Mahmud :
Prices of essential commodities remained high in the markets despite government's various measures. As a result, consumers are bearing the burden of surplus cost.
Besides, millions of low and middle-income families of the country are struggling to cope with the rising prices of essentials, including food and vegetables, as their income fell due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The situation is also driving many people into poverty.
Common people are blaming a 'syndicate' of traders for the price hike of essential commodities. They also accused the syndicate of 'robbing' crores of taka from the pockets of the members of public by dictating market price.
Consumers from different areas in the capital alleged that price of every food stuff is beyond their purchasing capacity and too high to buy.
"What can I buy for my family which is comparatively low rates? Answer is nothing, I am tired of walking in the market but nothing has been found comfortable, said Ahmad Ali, a private job holder from Dayagonj Bazar, near to Jatrabari in the capital.
Ahmad Ali said his company reduced his wage by 40 per cent and he is worried about going to below the poverty line due to high commodity prices in market.
He said, "When you want to buy rice, its minimum price Tk 45 per kg. If you want to take vegetables to your kitchen room, the lowest price is Tk 50per kg. Then how can you afford with the low income?"
When Ahmad Hossain expressed his frustrations to this correspondent, then the others walking besides him tuned the same and urged the government to do something strictly so that the prices come down to be affordable for the low income group of people.
Visiting several markets including Doyagonj, Jurain, Gandaria, Dhupkhola, Shyambazar, Mog Bazar, Farmgate and Karwan Bazar, it has been found that most of the items' price had increased by Tk 10 to even Tk 100 per kg in past several days.
People are usually dependent on potato as it is usable for every type of curry and comparatively cheaper in prices.
But its price also hiked in last few weeks.
The traders are selling potato at Tk 45 to 50 ignoring the government's fixations of its prices twice in a month to Tk 30 and Tk 35 per kg.
Green chillies were sold at Tk 190-220 per kg in last several weeks which are now selling at Tk 280 to 300 per kg.
Aubergines is sold for Tk 90-100 a kg, papayas for Tk 50 a kg, beans for Tk 85-100 a kg, cucumbers for Tk 100 a kg, tomatoes Tk 120-140 a kg, ladies fingers for Tk 70 a kg.
Prices of egg also increased from Tk36-37 for four pieces to Tk38.
Local varieties of onions are now selling in retail for Tk 95-110 per kg, while the imported ones are selling at Tk 80-100 per kg.
Retailers blamed short supply for the price hiking.
"The new season of vegetables is stalking. Actually Floods and greed increased price," said Abdul Kader, a trader from Jurain Bazaar.
When contacted, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Golam Rahman said, consumers cannot afford the price hiking of rice and vegetables.
The real income of the people has fallen on average due to the ongoing pandemic.
In these circumstances, low income group of people have become vulnerable to the cost of living.
He said government should control prices of every commodity strictly so that people can afford it.
Rather, government is blamed syndicates for the price hiking and announced action as and when needed.
Besides, government blamed syndicates behind the price hiking and announced actions are on going against them.
 "The prices increase in rainy season every year. Besides, in this pandemic, no country has remained stable in market," he said replying to a query of journalists at the party chief's Dhanmondi office.

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