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The Financial Express

Coronavirus fallout: Low-income group hit hard by high prices of essentials

FE Report | Published: March 24, 2020 09:25:15 | Updated: March 25, 2020 17:45:42


- FE file photo - FE file photo

Prices of key essentials remained almost unchanged at their previous highs.

However, the low income people, especially the daily earners, have been hit hard due to low presence of people across the city amid coronavirus pandemic.

The day labourers, rickshaw pullers, small shop owners, hawkers, beggars and other low income people have been going through a tough ride amid decline in income and high prices of essential items, said the sufferers.

The prices of rice, pulses, potato, sugar, loose edible oil and some spices witnessed significant hike in last seven days amid panic buying.

The prices of coarse rice have increased by 25-31 per cent during the period, according to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh.

Coarse rice Swarna and BR-11 varieties were selling at Tk 45-50 a kg in the city retail on Monday.

Sugar prices shot up to Tk 70-75 a kg, potato Tk 25-35 a kg depending on varieties, garlic Tk 130-180 a kg, ginger Tk 140-180 a kg, pulses like lentil Tk 80-90 a kg (coarse), Tk 120-140 (finer) a kg in the market in last seven days.

Md Belayet, a rickshaw puller of East Rayer Bazar in the city, told the FE that he earned Tk 110 till 4.30 pm on the day against Tk 450-500 in the normal days.

He said that the income declined drastically while the prices of rice and other essentials went up.

If this situation continues for next one or two days, my four-member family will have to face starvation, he said.

Helal Uddin Arif, helper of a human hauler (known as laguna), said they got less than 10 per cent of passengers in last two days.

He said the owners of the lagunas will stop service from Jigatola to Farmgate amid such low passengers. He said his earnings halved during last few days.

The government, meanwhile, declared a general holiday from March 26 to April 4 across the country as a precaution for the COVID-19 pandemic. It has announced to help commoners during this period.

Consumers Association of Bangladesh secretary Humayun Kabir Bhuiyan said low income group of people have been suffering doubly as their income declined and at the same time the prices of essentials went up significantly.

The authority should make it clear how it could help the commoners during this tough time, he said, adding that the market monitoring should be continued to protect the interests of consumers.

Tonmoy.wardad@gmail.com

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