Chattogram, Nov 14 (UNB) – The price of onion moved up further by Tk 40-60 to Tk 180-200 per kg at the retail market here on Thursday, proving futile the government’s all mechanisms to cool down the overheated onion market, and much to the anger of consumers.
Consumers alleged that unscrupulous businessmen continued to raise the onion price through syndication as the ‘government has no control over the market’.
However, traders at Khatunganj wholesale market blamed the supply shortage as the import against the demand is inadequate as well as the failure to release the imported onion from ports due to cyclone Bulbul for the skyrocketing price of the cooking ingredient.
Meanwhile, Commerce Secretary Dr Jafar Uddin on Thursday said the onion price will not start falling to the previous level before the first week of December.
Visiting different markets, it was found that all varieties of onion -– local, Myanmar, Egyptian and Indian -- were selling at Tk 190-Tk 200 per kg at retail market on Thursday.
In wholesale markets, local onion was selling at Tk 160-Tk 180, Myanmar onion at Tk 140-Tk 165, Egypt onion at Tk 135-Tk 140 and Indian onion at Tk 130.
The price was Tk 115-Tk 120, Tk 105-Tk 110, Tk 90-Tk 98 and Tk 130-Tk 140 respectively three days back.
In the capital, the wholesale price of onion was Tk 180 per kg at Karwanbazar on Thursday.Talking to UNB, wholesaler Md Mosharraf said the price has gone up as the demand is much higher than the supply.
Another wholesaler Md Alamgir Hossain said he sold local variety of onion at Tk 190 per kg on Thursday and it will rise further on Friday. “If the onion supply reduces in the wholesale market, the price gets higher naturally in retail markets,” he said.
Bolai Kumar, a wholesale trader at Khatunganj, blamed the government and the local administration for the price hike, saying, “Without finding out the key reason behind the crisis, they’re handing out jail terms and imposing fine on us.”
Had the import process made easier, the problem would not have arisen, he said, adding that the overheated onion market will not come under control anytime soon until the new onions hit the market. “It’ll take another one and half months for this.”
Mohammad Ali, retailer at Kazir Deuri Bazar, said he stopped selling onion from Wednesday fearing public wrath. “I sold onion at highest Tk 140-Tk 150 but now it reached Tk 200. People will beat me up if I try to sell onion at Tk 200.”
Meanwhile, common people, especially the low-income class, were hit hard by the skyrocketing onion price.
They vented their anger at the government for its failure to control the onion price.
“How will I manage my family if I spend Tk 200 for buying 1 kg onion,” said Jamsed Miah, a private service holder.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said there is enough stock of onions but those are not being released to the market. “It seems there’s stock of onions in the country and these are being rotten in many places. But onions are not being released to the market,” she said while delivering her valedictory speech of the 5th session of the 11th parliament.
She said some 50,000 tonnes of onion, which will arrive here soon from Egypt, will be sold through the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB). “LC (Letter of Credit) has already been opened for importing 50,000 tonnes of onion from Egypt. These will arrive within a few days,” she said.
Contacted, the commerce secretary told UNB that the price went up as the arrival of locally-produced onion in the market was delayed by 20-25 days.
Besides, the government used to import 1,000 tonnes of onion from Myanmar but that has been reduced to only 400 tonnes, he said. “The onion price will come down by the first week of December when the locally-produced onions enter the market,” he added.
Jafar insisted the price of onion will stabilise when the imported onions and local produce enter the markets by the first week of December.
Humayun Kabir, information officer at the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), said 35 trucks carrying 1,000 kgs (a tonne) onions each are being sold in the capital at Tk 45 per kg every day.
On September 29, the Indian government banned onion export with immediate effect till further order for what it says improving domestic availability, which triggered the onion price hike.
Members of Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) arrested two members of Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh, a banned militant outfit, in Patiya upazila here on Thursday.
The arrestees are Abdullah Abu Sayed, 35, son of Abdur Rahim and Md Ismail, 35, son of late Abdul Nabi of Cox’s Bazar’s Teknaf upazila.
Mahmudul Hasan, assistant superintendent of police and assistant director (media) of Rab-7, said tipped off, Rab members set up a check post at Shantir hat on Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar highway.
They arrested the two when they were trying to flee after getting off a passenger bus around 12 am, he said, adding six ‘Jihadi’ books and some leaflets were seized from their possession.
During primary interrogation, they admitted their involvement with the militant outfit.
Two days after a deadly train crash in Brahmanbaria, three compartments of another train,Rangpur Express, caught fire after derailment in Ullapara on Thursday noon, snapping rail links between Dhaka and northern districts.
Rafiqul Islam, stationmaster of Ullapara Railway Station, said six bogies and the locomotive of the train derailed near Ullapara railway station around 2:30pm.
Later, three of those caught fire immediately, he said.
Visiting the spot in the afternoon, Sirajganj Deputy Commissioner Dr Faruk Ahamed said a five-member probe body has been formed with additional deputy commissioner Firoz Mahmud as its head. It was asked to submit a report within five working days.
The other members of the committee are officials concerned of upazila administration, police and fire service, said Ullapara station master Rafiqul Islam.
General Manager of west zone of Bangladesh Raiway Ahsan Ullah and other high officials visited the accident spot.
Ahsanullah said technical glitch might be the cause behind the accident and another probe body will be formed by Bangladesh Railway.
A relief train reached the spot and started rescue operation, he added.
Monjil Haque, deputy managing director of Sirajganj Fire Service, said six units of the fire service doused the fire of the train after frantic efforts.
Earlier on Tuesday, at least 16 passengers were killed and over 100 others injured in a collision of two trains at Mandbagh in Brahmanbaria.
The deadly collision between Dhaka-bound Turnanishita from Chattogram and Chattogram-bound Udayan Express from Sylhet took place around 3 am.
Police arrested a man for allegedly raping a mentally impaired young girl at Panchkari village in Manirampur upazila on Wednesday.
The arrestee was identified as Shibpada Roy, son of Kalipada Roy of the village.
Shikdar Matier Rahman, officer-in-charge of Manirampur Police Station, said the mother of the 13-year-old girl, hailing from Dumuria upazila in Khulna district, filed a case with the police station on Tuesday night accusing Shibpada.
Later, police raided the house of Shibpada at night and arrested him.
According to the case statement, the victim along with her mother came to her maternal uncle’s house for celebrating Durga Puja.
On October 27, Shibpada took the girl to his house while returning from a puja mandap at night and raped her.
Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) members rescued a 10-year-old girl, who was abducted from Gazipur and ‘raped’ in her confinement, from Nischintaput of South Surma upazila early Wednesday.
The elite force also arrested an alleged kidnapper -- Taher Ali, son of Mujibur Rahman of the village -- in this regard, said Major Shawkatul Monayem of Rab-9 in a press briefing.
On October 31, the victim was shopping with her grandmother in Gazipur while Taher and his associate tactfully fed them food laced with sedatives whereby they became unconscious.
They brought the girl to Sylhet and demanded Tk 2 lakh to her family through mobile phone as ransom for her release.
During her confinement, the girl was also raped by the culprits, the Rab official said.