The prices of some vegetables that shot up on the first day of Ramadan are expected to cool down shortly as the supply is pretty plenty and drive against profiteers underway, government authorities said Saturday.
Commerce officials also said the government was set to take tough action against any unscrupulous trader for 'artificial' price hike of those commodities.
Especially, prices of Iftar items like egg-plants and cucumber were jacked up in markets in the capital and in other cities.
The Ministry of Commerce has deployed 16 teams for market monitoring in the city for the ongoing month of fasting. Last year the number was 14.
"Our (MoC) teams are working all the week. We hope the prices will come down shortly," senior secretary of the ministry Hedayetullah Al Mamoon told the FE.
He said the district officials led by Deputy Commissioners (DCs) are also monitoring the kitchen markets in their respective areas.
"We are regularly holding meetings with the traders. They informed us that there are huge supplies of commodities in the markets. So, we hope there will be no price hike of essential commodities in Ramadan," the official said.
About the stock situation he said the country has sufficient stock of essentials such as sugar, onion, gram, soybean oil and lentils. There is no reason for price hike of those commodities.
On Friday, the first day of Ramadan, per-kg egg-plant sold at prices as high as between Tk 80 and Tk 100 while cucumber Tk 60 to Tk 80 at different kitchen markets in the city.
In the past week, egg-plant price Tk 45 to Tk 50 per kilogram while cucumber between Tk 35 and Tk 40.
On the second day of the lunar month of Ramadan, there were little signs of a respite: egg-plant claimed Tk 75 to Tk 100 per kg while cucumber Tk 60-75 at different kitchen markets in the city.
Asked about reasons for the abrupt price hike of egg-plant and cucumber, wholesalers attributed the high prices to low supply at the time of hot demand.
The consumers blamed lax market monitoring for price rises. They said it has become a common phenomenon that a section of traders increase prices of some essential vegetables for their personal benefits despite sufficient supplies on the market during the month of fasting.
"It could not be justified anyway. There are sufficient quantities of egg-plant and cucumber in the markets. So there is no reason why there should be price hike of egg- plant, cucumber and some other vegetables during Ramadan," Md Azmat, a private service-holder, told the FE Saturday at Fakirerpool Bazar.
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