A monitoring team of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection found evidence of onion price manipulation in wholesale markets
Wholesalers in Dhaka are making a profit of at least Tk83 per kg of locally-grown onions. At the Shyambazar wholesale market, Rita-Mukta Traders was selling the item for Tk220 per kg after buying it for Tk137 a kg on Wednesday last.
A monitoring team of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection on Saturday found evidence of onion price manipulation and fined the dealer Tk30,000 for overcharging.
Some team members said that most of the wholesalers were not displaying a price list for the onions, which showed that they intended to charge as much as possible for them.
Even if a few of them were displaying a list of the selling prices, they were actually selling the item for a higher price.
The monitoring team found that Badiuzzaman and Sons and Bismillah Traders at the same market were selling onions for Tk230 to Tk240 per kg even though the list said the price was Tk220. The government team fined the two wholesalers Tk20,000 each.
Md Abdul Jabbar Mondol, an assistant director of the directorate, said wholesalers are destabilising the onion market. "We have served them with a warning notice. We will give them a bigger punishment if we find them manipulating the market again."
On a visit to another wholesale market at the capital's Karwan Bazar area, this correspondent found that locally-produced onions were selling for Tk230 per kg, and the imported ones for Tk200 per kg.
Many traders were sitting idle in their shops because of a shortage in the supply of onions.
A trader named Ashraful Alam said the supply of onions to the market was very low, and that he had sold out his stock by 9am.
At other retail markets in the city, locally-grown onions sold for Tk240 to Tk250 per kg and the imported ones for Tk220 to Tk230 a kg.
Ariful Islam, a grocer at the Rampura kitchen market, said, "How can we reduce onion prices when it is still high in the wholesale market? We sell onions at high prices because we buy the item at a high price from wholesalers."