The government on Sunday started open market sales of coarse varieties of rice at the rate of Tk 30 per kg across the divisional towns in the awake of recent surge in prices of the staple food.
The government also asked the district administrations for launching drives into warehouses of rice mills across the country and to sell the hoarded items in the market at reasonable prices and if necessary, arrest hoarders.
According to food ministry officials, under the OMS programme rice and atta would be sold at reduced prices at 806 spots across the country.
The OMS of rice and atta started at 109 spots in Dhaka city and the outlets witnessed huge rush of consumers.
Atta was being sold at Tk 17 a kg at the OMS outlets.
‘Today we have asked deputy commissioners and police supers to launch drive in each warehouse of rice mills and they will take initiative to sell the hoarded rice in the market at fair price,’ commerce minister Tofail Ahmed told reporters at his office in Bangladesh Secretariat on Sunday.
The commerce minister said that Bangladesh Auto Husking Mills Owners Association president Md Abdur Rashid and secretary K M Layek Ali are the main perpetrators for creating instability in the rice market.
Tofail said that this quarter spread rumours that India stopped export of rice to Bangladesh.
He said that some of the mills owners were creating artificial shortage of rice in the market and the district administrations have been asked to arrest them.
Tofail said that leaders of Bangladesh Auto Rice Mills Owner’s Association on Sunday met him and food minister Md Qamrul Islam and they informed that the stock of rice is sufficient in the country, but a certain quarter created artificial crisis.
Food minister Qamrul Islam said that the OMS of rice and atta launched across the country for the fixed income group and at the same time the government has taken necessary initiative to stabilise the rice market.
‘We have asked DCs and SPs over phone to arrest the people who are involved with hoarding of rice,’ he told reporters after a meeting with commerce minister.
Qamrul claimed that about at least one crore tonnes of tice remained in the warehouses of traders across the country and a certain quarter of mills owners increased the prices to illegally make money.
‘We will hold a meeting with rice mill owners, traders and importers on Tuesday. The traders or mills owners who are involved with hoarding will have to face tough action,’ the food minister said.
Earlier on September 12, commerce minister had sent a letter to the deputy commissioners and the divisional commissioners asking them to monitor and stabilise the rice market.
According to statistics of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh, the prices of rice increased by Tk 8-10 a kg in last one week and fine varieties were selling at Tk 68 a kg while the coarse varieties of rice at Tk 54 a kg.
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