The instructions given to the District Commissioners to confirm the government fixed price of potato in cold storage was not implemented. As a result, potatoes are being sold at the previous price.
Last Tuesday, the Ministry of Commerce directed the District Commissioners to confirm the government price of potato. This order was supposed to be implemented from Wednesday. However, on this day, no official was seen in the field anywhere in the capital to implement the order. There is no direction from the district administration in this regard.
In the wake of the sudden rise in prices in the country, the government fixed the wholesale and retail prices of potatoes on September 14. According to the decision, potatoes should be sold at Tk 26 to Tk 27 per kg in cold storage and at Tk 35 to Tk 36 in the retail market. Although the government fixed the price, its effect did not reach the market. Depending on the market in the capital, the consumer is spending 60 to 70 taka per kg of potato.
According to the notification of the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday, all the district administrators have been instructed to do this by issuing a letter in this regard last Monday. This decision has been taken according to the Control of Essential Commodities Act- 3 (2) (e) of 1956.
It has also been said that potato traders are selling potatoes at a higher price than the price set by the government at the cold storage and retail levels. 3 (2) (e) of The Control of Essential Commodities Act- 1956 in order to stabilize the potato market in the interest of the public, under the supervision of the District Commissioner, the Government shall take necessary measures to sell potatoes at the fixed price from the cold storages under his jurisdiction on an urgent basis. In this case, the District Administrators will assign responsibility to a suitable officer at the district and upazila level to supervise one or more storage and in the presence of the responsible officer, the potato will be sold at the price fixed by the government.
Potatoes were sold at the previous price on Wednesday due to non-implementation of the order of the Ministry of Commerce.
Consumers say that the government has completely failed to control the prices of daily commodities. No one is thinking about the people. When the price of the product increases, now the regulatory agencies are not able to reduce the price of the product in any way. No campaign is seen in the market. As a result, the sellers are making extra money by increasing the prices of the products abnormally and cutting the pockets of the buyers.
On this day, potatoes are being sold at 40 to 44 taka in cold stores in different districts of the country, 48 to 52 taka in wholesale and at least 60 taka in retail. Traders say that the stock is less than the demand, so the price of potatoes has increased. However, consumer organizations claim that if there was surveillance, the price would not have increased so much.
Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB) President Golam Rahman said, ‘Customers are hostages to the businessmen. They are not even obeying the orders of the government. It has been observed that every time the price of the product has been fixed in the country, the sellers have sold the product at a higher price to the buyer without implementing it. But the regulatory agencies that enforce this price are also showing a kind of helplessness to the unscrupulous. As a result buyers are not getting any benefit. Hence the functioning of the monitoring body seems to be questionable.’
The annual demand of potatoes in the country is 90 lakh tons. And the owners of the cold store said that there are 85 lakh tons in stock. However, traders said that the price may decrease if new potatoes are available this month.