With the nearing of the Ramadan month the people of the region are concerned about the unusual price hike of essential consumer items.
As for today, the prices of consumer goods having high demand during the Ramadan remained static and within the reach of buyers, a welcome message for them, unlike the past few years that saw unusual high price and artificial crisis created by a section of unscrupulous traders.
Market insiders said as the national parliamentary election is expected to be held by the year-end and the government will hopefully try to keep the local market trend static with tolerable prices to win the hearts of the voters in the upcoming election.
The current trend of prices of consumer goods excluding that of rice, the staple food of the people, is comparatively lower than the past few years ahead of holy Ramadan festival and the buyers are rather happy, retail shoppers at different major markets in the city observed.
They hoped that this year's Ramadan month will be rather tolerable as there is adequate supply of consumer goods imported to the port city and stored in warehouses at the consumer goods wholesale markets at Chaktai, Khatungonj, Asadgonj and Pahartali area.
Wholesalers and retailers at Khatungonj and Chaktai said the commodities that are consumed much during the Ramadan like garlic, onion, ginger, chick-pea, different varieties of pulses including Chana Dal, Mug Dal and Khesari Dal, branded edible oil etc are now selling at comparatively lower prices.
The stock of these consumer goods at Chaktai, Khatungonj, Asadgonj and Pahartali wholesale markets is richer than that of the last year and these goods have been imported through Chittagong port over the last few months.
A senior official of the BSM Group, one of the leading consumer goods importers of the country stationed at Khatungonj, said prices of different varieties of chick-pea and pulse and also other consumer goods are cheaper this year in the international market.
"As our government has taken different steps including the reduction of import duty on consumer items to encourage huge import to meet the enhanced demand in the local market the local traders have imported huge quantity of Ramadan food items well ahead of arrival of the biggest Muslim festival this year," the BSM official said.
Onion is now selling at Tk 22-26 per kilogram at the retail shops in the city, ginger at Tk 55-65 a KG, garlic at Tk 70, Chola at Tk 70, Masur (smaller) at Tk 95, Masur (coarse) at Tk 65, Khesari at Tk 68, sugar at Tk 60, bottled edible oil (soybean) at Tk 100-105 per litre, un-bottled at Tk 70-80 and palm oil Tk 65 a litre.
He said that prices of some items have come down in the span of a month. Chola was selling at Tk 90 per KG last month but it is now selling at Tk 70. At this time of the year the prices of Ramadan items begin to soar, but this year it is a different scenario till today.
A consumer told this correspondent at Reazuddin Bazaar on Sunday that the government looks to be serious against the hoarders who create artificial crisis and price hike of commodities in the upcoming Ramadan considering its negative impact on the people in the election year.
He, however, said that the government is yet to bring down the price of rice within the limit of the common people. Price of fine quality rice has rather gone up in recent times in the retail market. The local district administration is yet to launch any drive in this respect, he said adding that there is no valid reason behind the soaring price of rice at this season when it witnessed bumper production.
Regarding any possible drive to rein in the prices of consumer goods, Additional Magistrate of the district administration Mashhudul Kabir said the local administration is watchful as the market trend is good. Anti-hoarding drives will be launched if situation calls for it.
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