Prices of rice and red lentil rose by Tk 8 and Tk 10 a kilogram in the city markets as the prices of the daily essentials kept rising after the December 30 general election.
Retailers blamed rice millers and wholesalers for the continued price hike.
Consumers alleged that despite having available supply, the price hike of rice and red lentil was nothing but manipulation by a quarter of traders to gain excessive profit, reports from different corners of Dhaka city as well as Narayanganj and Sylhet said.
Commerce minister Tipu Munshi on Friday claimed that the prices of rice would come down in a week.
The rice prices went up because of the shortage of transports for 2-3 days for the 11th parliamentary elections, he told reporters after paying tributes to the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at his graveside at Tungipara.
According to the traders, the prices of rice increased by Tk 4-8 a kilogram in the past 12 days in the city markets while the price of red lentil increased by Tk 5-10 a kilogram.
The wholesale prices of fine rice Miniket increased by Tk 300-400 a bag (50 kg) to Tk 2,600-2,700 a bag from 2,300 during the period, said Karwan Bazar retailer Mizanur Rahman.
He said that the wholesale prices of medium variety of rice increased by Tk 200-250 a bag to Tk 2,300-2,350 a bag in the city market.
The coarse variety of rice was selling for Tk 38-44 a kilogram while BR-28 rice was retailing at Tk 46-52 a kilogram in the city market on Friday.
Fine variety of Miniket rice was selling for Tk 60-65 a kg while the coarse variety rice was selling for Tk 55-58 a kg.
The fine variety of Najirshail rice was retailing at Tk 62-68 a kg and its standard variety at Tk 58-60 a kg.
Syed Monirul Islam, proprietor of Barishal Rice Agency at Mohammadpur Krishi Market, said that the prices of rice went up as rice mill owners increased the prices.
He said that millers increased the prices of rice using paddy price hike as a pretext.
‘There is no reason to increase the prices of rice as the prices of paddy are much lower than that of the previous year,’ said Mazharul Islam, a private job holder lived in the capital.
He said that despite having huge supply of rice in the market, a section of traders were trying to manipulate the prices to make extra profit.
Amid the soaring prices of the staple, commerce minister Tipu Munshi and food minister Shadan Chandra Majumder held a meeting with the rice millers and wholesalers on Thursday.
Commerce minister suggested the businesses to be more careful in running their businesses to check rice price hike.
He urged the rice millers and wholesalers not to indulge in any immoral means which might affect common people.
The prices of coarse variety of imported red lentil increased by Tk 5 a kg and were selling for Tk 60-75 a kg in the city markets on Friday.
The prices of fine variety of red lentil increased by Tk 10 a kg and were selling for Tk 100-110 a kg.
Mizanur Rahman said that the import of red lentil decreased in the end of 2018 as most of the importers wanted to clear their warehouses in the beginning of new year.
New Age correspondent in Narayangonj reported that the prices of rice increased by Tk 3-5 a kg in the city after the elections.
Traders said that the wholesale price of Miniket rice increased by Tk 220 a bag (50 kg) to Tk 2,750 a bag while coarse rice increased by Tk 150 a bag to Tk 2,050 a bag.
New Age correspondent in Sylhet reported that the prices of rice increased by Tk 3-6 a kg in the city markets after the elections.
Wholesale price of coarse variety of rice increased by Tk 200 a bag (50 kg) to Tk 1,900.
The wholesale price of fine rice increased by Tk 200 a bag to Tk 2,700 while aromatic rice increased by Tk 300 a bag to Tk 4,100.
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