The government has, of late, set monitoring teams after the 'hoarders' as onion prices climbed sky-high, reaching up to Tk 120.00 per kilogramme.
Officials said under the move, the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has also directed the district administrations to tame the hike in onion prices in the local markets.
"We asked the monitoring teams to intensify market-monitoring drives and hunt down scrupulous traders who are involved in onion hoarding illegally," additional secretary of the MoC Munshi Shafiul Haque told the FE.
He said the ministry started finding out the root causes behind the sudden onion-price surge.
The official said if any trader was found involved in hoarding onions, stern action would be taken against them under the existing laws.
A kilogramme of local variety of onions sold between Tk 115 and Tk 120 while prices of imported onions ranged from Tk 80 to Tk 90 in Dhaka's different kitchen markets as of Sunday.
The prices of local onions have increased 206.67 per cent while imported ones of the essential spice item 209.09 per cent over the last one year, according to data available with the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).
Wholesalers at Karwanbazar feel that the onion prices would come down within the next two or three weeks, following the arrival of new harvests in the local markets.
Meanwhile, a local leading consumer-right-protection group suggested the government let the onion-import system be competitive and control hoarding. Also, the consumer watchdog called for ensuring compulsory hanging of daily price charts of essential commodities at kitchen-market shops.
Its leaders noted that poor/limited-income-group people have been passing a hard time due to price hike of essential commodities.
"The government should focus on removing the sufferings of limited- income group of people due to price hike of essential commodities," Prof M Shamsul Alam of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) told the FE.
He suggested that the state-run trading agency- the TCB- should come forward for rationing essential commodities throughout the year in view of the meagre amounts of monthly income of the lower orders in society.
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