- Nationwide raids against rice hoarding begin on Tuesday
- Eight teams of Ministry of Food are conducting drives against those traders
- Consumers' Right Protection Directorate will also conduct drive
- A control room opened asking to report of illegal stockpiling.
Many rice traders closed their shops and fled Babubazar wholesale market in Dhaka when a team from the food ministry started raiding godowns there as part of nationwide drives against hoarding of the staple.
However, the team raided several stores there and did not find any illegal hoarding of rice in the shops, Md Harun-or Rashid, deputy secretary of the food ministry, who led the drive in Dhaka, told The Business Standard.
"But many were running business without food grain licence and some are doing business with expired licence. Those irregularities were checked," he added.
Besides, another team fined Tk2,000 to a Naogaon shop for hoarding rice in godown for longer than the stipulated time.
Following the PM's directive, the ministry formed eight teams for conducting drives against those traders who stockpiled rice in an attempt to create a false rice crisis in the market. The teams will investigate and take action if anyone is stockpiling rice.
The decisions were taken at a meeting presided over by Food Minister Sadhon Chandra Majumder at his secretariat office.
To prevent illegal stockpiling, the ministry will send letters to the deputy commissioners and upazila nirbahi officers, and also to the National Security Intelligence (NSI), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and the Directorate of National Consumers' Right Protection (DNCRP) regarding the nationwide drives.
Earlier on Monday, the prime minister had instructed those concerned to take strict action against those hoarding rice to curb a rise in the price of the staple during the ongoing Boro season.
She also directed the commerce, food and agriculture ministries to take immediate steps to find out the reasons behind rice price hike through monitoring and supervision.
On the other hand, a team of Naogaon district administration and food department, in a drive, rained eight shops and fined a rice mill "Nasim Brothers Auto Rice Mill".
Executive Magistrate Md Niloy Rahman, who led the drive, said a fine was slapped on the rice mill owner for keeping the paddy for hoarding rice for more than one month although the stock was not high.
The ministry opened a control room and requested all to call +88022233802113, 01790499942 and 01713003506 to report any information of illegal stockpiling.
According to TCB's Sunday market analysis, compared to last year, fine rice is selling at 7% higher this season while medium quality fine rice is 4% higher in cost, and coarse rice is 6.5% higher.
On Sunday, good quality Miniket rice was selling for Tk70 per kg in wholesale shops in the capital, while retail consumers had to spend Tk74-75 per kg for the same rice. Per kg wholesale standard Miniket was Tk64-65, and Tk68-70 in the retail market.
Another variety of the rice was available for Tk65 and Tk60 in the retail and wholesale markets respectively. Wholesale Swarna and Paijam rice are Tk45-46 per kg and Tk50 in the retail market, while good quality Nazirshail rice has crossed Tk80 per kg.