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Saturday, October 17, 2020

People are in hardship for soaring kitchen market

WITHIN just a month, prices of food grains and other daily essentials have skyrocketed beyond the capacity of the poor- and the low-income classes of people, affecting their food basket and minimum nutritional requirement. Like the previous years, with the excuse of excessive rainfall and flooding in many parts of the country, the prices of the rice, daily essentials and vegetables have started abnormally hiking in the kitchen markets.  
 We must also remember that the worst affected from the natural calamities like extreme rains and prolonged flooding are people who are going to be the most burdened with this extra cost. Even if it is argued that the price of some essentials increased due to rainfall, it does not account for the wide range of commodities, such as rice, sugar, cooking oil and other non-perishable items, whose prices have been hiked in spite of huge stocks at every go-downs.
Media report in a national daily on Friday sad that while people of middle- and low- income groups are still struggling to get over the loss of income caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, soaring prices of daily essentials is compounding their problems. This situation has become so dire for some that the minimum amount of food on everyday menu -- rice, potato, edible oil, green chilli and onion -- is being considered luxury as prices of these basic items have increased by Tk 5 to Tk 110 per kg over the past two months.
During the last year, there was hue and cry about the unusual price hike of onions. This year too, onions have already made headlines as prices have risen. Apart from onions, the price of potatoes also skyrocketed by almost 100 per cent this year too.  
Meanwhile, Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) vice-president SM Nazer Hossain said the government has failed to intervene as market prices escalate.
A recent FAO survey by an expert puts the number of people in Bangladesh suffering from malnutrition at 2.6 crore. Hiking the price of food items will only adds to the problem.
We believe the government must take strict surveillance so that none can take any advantage of the current situation. In the past, we have seen the government to create an alternative market like OMS, to control price hike. But this time, it is silent. And the silent role has created frustration among the people.