File photo: Customers are seen buying vegetables at a Dhaka kitchen market
Rajib Dhar/Dhaka Tribune
Customers suspect a strong syndicate that is manipulating prices to make a quick profit at their expense
The second day of the ongoing countrywide strict lockdown, to curb the spread of Covid-19, saw high prices for essential commodities in the capital.
Visiting several kitchen markets on Saturday, including New Market, Hatirpool, Karwan Bazar, Mohakhali and others, this correspondent found high prices of goods amid a handful of customers, despite everything in abundant supply.
But traders blamed supply scarcity induced by the lockdown for the price hike.
Rasel Ahmed, a vegetable retailer at Hatirpool, said that the lockdown heavily influenced commodity prices to go up.
Another retailer, Sardar Ali, said that post-Eid supply of vegetables could not enter the capital due to the strict lockdown, which began on Friday.
Customers suspect a strong syndicate that is manipulating prices to make a quick profit at their expense.
Also Read – Prices of essentials heat up just before Eid
Vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes became costlier by Tk30-50 per kilogram, selling on Saturday for Tk170 and Tk150 per kg respectively.
Other items such as cucumbers sold for Tk120 per kg, which was Tk80 last week. Hybrid cucumbers sold for Tk60-70 per kg, which was Tk30 last week.
Green chilies also became dearer, going up from Tk60 per kg last week to Tk100 per kilo.
Another vendor Sardar Ali said: “Vegetable trucks could not reach from different parts of the country. Even though demand is almost the same as before, the shortage of supply has pushed up prices.”
“However, we are hopeful that prices will come down in a few days,” he added.
Spices also remained out of the consumers’ reach, as cumin sold for Tk300 per kg, cinnamon for Tk380 per kg, small cardamom for Tk2,400 per kg, coriander powder and turmeric powder at Tk120 per kg.
Onions sold for Tk45 per kg, local garlic Tk80-90 per kg, Chinese garlic at Tk150 per kg, local ginger Tk130 per kg and foreign ginger for Tk160 per kg.
In the fish market, prices slightly dipped. Ruhi sold at Tk250 per kg, down from Tk280-350 last week, while Ilish sold for Tk800 per kg, which was Tk900 last week.
Jumbo prawns sold for Tk600-650 per kg, while Tilapia prices went up from Tk120-150 per kg last week to Tk150-160 on Saturday.
Broiler chicken prices were also up, from Tk125-130 per kg last week to Tk140 on Saturday. Sonali (Cock) chicken prices remained unchagned at Tk230 per kg.
Both Najirshail and Miniket rice sold for Tk65 per kg, which was Tk58-60 last week.
Paijam rice sold for Tk56 per kg this week, which was Tk53 before Eid.
Coarse rice sold for Tk53 per kg, which was Tk46 before Eid.