- Mobile court fines a wholesaler, warns nine wholesalers in Khatungonj
- Fear of mobile court halts sales
A mobile court of the Chattogram district administration conducted a drive at Khatungonj, the country's largest wholesale commodity market, on Tuesday. The court also fined a businessman and warned nine others against the unscrupulous increase of the price of onions.
The drive was conducted by executive magistrates Ashraful Alam and Towhidul Islam.
The court fined Khaja Traders, an onion wholesaler at Khatungonj Tk10,000 for intentionally increasing the price of onions to Tk100 per kg.
The mobile court warned nine wholesalers, including M/S SN Traders, Hazi Ochiuddin Sowdagaor, M/S Abdul Awal, Shahjalal Traders, New Shahamanat Traders, M/S Bagdadi Corporation against increasing price.
On Tuesday, Indian onions were sold for Tk100 per kg, and Myanmar onions for Tk90 per kg at Khatungonj.
However, after the mobile court started the drive, the price of Indian onions came down at Tk60-Tk65 per kg and Myanmar onions to Tk50 per kg.
Mohammad Ayub of M/S Banchamia Sowdagor, a wholesaler of Khatungonj, said, "Fear of the mobile court has halted sales since morning. The mobile court asked us to sell Indian onions for Tk60-65 per kg and Myanmar onions for Tk50-Tk50, which is completely unrealistic because we imported the onions at a higher price."
Almost all the wholesalers are not selling onions to avoid obvious loss, he added.
"The sale dropped 85 percent in the last two days," said Anwar Parvez, proprietor of Chattogram Banijjaloy in Khatungonj, adding "I usually sell over 300-350 sacks of onions daily, but since Tuesday morning no buyer has come to our shop."
Towhidul Alam, the executive magistrate, said, "There is enough import. The price has been hiked artificially by the importers, and they ask the wholesalers to sell onions at a high price. So we have warned them and fixed the price of India onions at Tk60-Tk65 and the Myanmar ones at Tk50-Tk55."
We have also asked them to keep the price reasonable. We are making a list of importers who have hiked the price and created panic in the market over onion prices. Punitive measures will be taken against them, Towhidul added.
During the filing of this report at around 2:30 pm, two more mobile courts were conducting drives at the city's Phartali area and Reazuddin bazar over onion price manipulation in Chattogram.