The prices of finer varieties of rice continued to maintain their recent-peak levels Wednesday, but the coarse varieties showed a downward trend due to the recent cut in import duties and the government's import initiatives.
Sarna, a coarse variety of rice, was selling at Tk 48 per kg at different retail markets in the city on the day, which was between Tk 52 and Tk 55 during the last few days.
BR-28, another variety of rice, was selling between Tk 57 and Tk 58 per kg depending on quality while 'Minicate' between Tk 60 and Tk 62, and Nazirshail between Tk 68 and Tk 70.
At the wholesale markets in the city, the Minicate rice was selling between Tk 58 and Tk 60 per kg while Nazirshail between Tk 65 and Tk 66, and BR-28 between Tk 51 and Tk 52.
A section of unscrupulous traders allegedly jacked up the prices of rice recently, taking advantage of an estimated crop damage of around 2.0 million tonnes due to the recent floods in the country.
The government has reduced the import duties of rice to 2.0 per cent from around 28 per cent to encourage imports for covering the damage.
Retailers at the city's different kitchen markets said the prices of the coarse varieties of rice have declined by a range between Tk 5 and Tk 7 per kg over the last few days.
They, however, said that there is hardly any possibility to see an immediate fall in the prices of fine varieties of rice.
Talking to the FE, retailer Md Fazal Haq at Kaptan Bazar said he purchased per kg of coarse rice from the wholesale markets between Tk 45 and Tk 46. He had to spend Tk 1 per kg for carrying and bearing other costs.
Consumers at different kitchen markets expressed frustration over the high prices of rice and urged the government to stock enough rice at the public silos so that unscrupulous traders could not take the advantage of manipulating the price.
Meanwhile, the government had started carrying out raids at the rice millers' places to check whether they were hoarding rice beyond limit.
UNB adds: The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) initiated on Wednesday a probe against the hoarders responsible for the recent price hike of food grains, particularly rice.
The Commission has already formed a three-member body to carry out the probe against the hoarders, ACC spokesperson Pranab Kumar Bhattacharya said.
The probe body members are ACC deputy director Md Ahamaruzzaman, assistant director Salauddin and deputy assistant director Md Saiduzzaman.
According to official sources, the ACC recently received a number of allegations that many hoarders in collusion with a section of food officials are involved in illegal food hoarding across the country.
At a function on Tuesday, ACC chairman Iqbal Mahmood said they had decided to probe the allegations of illegal stockpiling of foods by hoarders in connivance with a section of food department officials.
"We've received allegations against a section of food officials of taking undue advantages from some hoarders over the illegal stockpiling of foods and decided to probe the matter," he told a discussion in Rangamati district.
The ACC chief said the commission will take exemplary legal actions against the government officials and hoarders involved in illegal stockpiling of foods aiming to shoot up their prices and thus make quick money.
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