People have gone on a shopping spree of essential commodities after hearing about the imminent lockdown, and to take advantage of the rush, unscrupulous businessmen have raised the prices.
At a number of kitchen markets in the capital on Saturday, The Business Standard saw the onion price go up by Tk5-10.
The price of local onions was hiked to Tk 35-40 from Tk 30-35 at wholesale kitchen market in Karwan Bazar and Rampura, Badda and Moghbazar retail markets.
While returning home from Karwan Bazar, Shofiqul Islam said he had sold onions at Tk 30 a kg from his retail shop at Moghbazar in the morning, but in the eveninghe bought the spice item at Tk 32 per kilo from the wholesale market to sell at Tk 38-40 a kg in his area.
On the sudden price increase, wholesaler Ashraful said online supply from Pabna and Faridpur had decreased. The suppliers also pushed up the price, "which is why we are having to sell onions at a higher price."
Onions have become costlier against the backdrop of a raging second wave of the pandemic that prompted Minister of Roads, Transports and Bridges Obaidul Quader to announce on Saturday that a nationwide lockdown will become effective from Monday.
At a grocery chain store in Rampura, customers were seen buying in bulk hand sanitisers, tissue, masks and other essential commodities.
"Ahead of Ramadan, we have to buy more of necessary goods. Since, the lockdown is going to be put in place, I am completing necessary purchases," said a customer, Al Amin.
Another customer, Abul Kalam at Karwan Bazar was carrying a large sack full of essential products. "I am buying more to avoid going to markets in lockdown," said Abul, an employee of a private organisation.
To make higher profits out of the rush, retailers have raised the prices of daily consumable items.
Unpacked soyabean oil was being sold at Tk 130 a litre, up from Tk 120-122. Prices of many other items, including garlic, were increased by Tk 10-15 a kg.
Surgical masks were being sold at Tk 10 for 2 pieces, which was earlier Tk 10 for a set of 4-5 masks.