Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal has said that all-out efforts are being made to keep prices of essentials normal during the upcoming Ramadan and stop extortion in the transportation of goods.
"I had a meeting with business leaders. Extortion has come under control to some extent. However, it has not been possible to stop extortion 100% yet," the home minister told a webinar.
The Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industries (DCCI) organised the event "Law and order situation and price control in the country during the holy month of Ramadan".
Asaduzzaman Khan said, "We are making every effort to stop this (extortion). In this, we need your help. Give us information whenever there is extortion. As soon as you give us information, our law enforcement officials are going there and taking action."
Noting that trade and commerce must continue to maintain peace and order in the country, the minister said, "We want the market situation to be such that buyers and consumers can buy essentials at fair prices."
He called upon businessmen to tell what type of supports from the government will help keep the prices of goods stable during Ramadan in Bangladesh like the other Muslim countries of the world. "So that the government can help the traders accordingly."
"We see the prices of goods fall in Ramadan in all Muslim counties in the world. But, the opposite development takes place in our country," said the minister.
He said it would be possible to stabilise the market price and maintain law and order during Ramadan with the help of businessmen, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI), law enforcement agencies, and other government departments concerned.
Speaking as a special guest, Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) Mayor Sheikh Fazle Noor Taposh said that preparations should be made keeping in mind the lockdown of one or two weeks or any length till Eid.
"Lockdown has been imposed since the first day of Ramadan. Everything will be off. We have to think one way if this closure lasts for seven days and in any case, it lasts for two weeks or till Eid, then there will be another way of thinking. But we have to make all kinds of preparations."
Mentioning preparations have been completed to conduct a DNCC mobile court against the rise in food and commodity prices, the mayor said that the campaign will start soon.
Taposh praised the role of law enforcement agencies to keep the market stable and stop extortion during Ramadan in the previous years.
"Over the last 10 years, we have seen how extortion has stopped," he said. "In the face of adversity, law enforcement agencies have played a key role. We will keep it going."
Representatives of BSTI, Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Dhaka Metropolitan Police, Consumers Association of Bangladesh, and the leaders of various business associations were present on the occasion.
According to various trade associations, there is no shortage of any kind of products. At the same time, it was asked to take logical steps to prevent price gaps between wholesale and retail markets.
BSTI representatives said market monitoring and mobile court operations are continuing. It will be intensified further in Ramadan.
DCCI President Rizwan Hossain, who moderated the programme, said, "180% fair increase in transporting containers, creation of artificial crisis and extortion in the transport sector have caused concern among the people. It has also increased the prices of goods and services. It has forced the lower- and middle-class people to survive on their savings. "
He wants the help of law enforcement agencies to keep the transportation of goods and the market stable.
RAB officials said during the month of Ramadan, an increased attention will be needed in places – shopping malls, jewellery shops, markets for essential commodities and shoppers – to keep the traffic system in order.