As Dhaka city corporations did not fix prices this year, butcher shops at kitchen markets all over the city raised beef prices by Tk30-50 per kg and started selling it for Tk600 on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
By the middle of the fasting month for the Muslims, the traders have once again increased the price by around Tk50 per kg and started selling it at Tk650.
Both consumers and sellers said the price had been raised keeping the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr, the largest religious festival for the Muslims, in view.
Sources at different kitchen markets said each kilogram of beef was selling for between Tk600 and Tk650 though there was no supply shortage of the meat.
Only two months ago, each kilogram of beef used to be sold for Tk500-520.
The situation has taken a turn for the worse in the case of mutton prices. Traders, by manipulation, have increased the price of mutton by Tk100 per kilogram just before Ramadan. Now they are selling it for Tk900 per kg.
The state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) also mentioned the price increases in its report.
TCB's market analysis shows in February this year per kilogram of beef was sold for Tk530-550 at retail markets across the capital. Traders increased the price to Tk560 in March and Tk600 in April.
Meanwhile, per kg beef was selling for Tk580-610 at Rai Saheb Bazar in the capital, while the price was between Tk600 and 620 at Malibagh kitchen market.
Beef sold for Tk500-650 per kg at Rampura kitchen market. Alamin, who came to the market to buy beef, said, "Traders have increased the price targeting the holy month of Ramadan."
Abdul Alim, who sells meat at Shantinagar kitchen market, said, "I have been selling beef for Tk600 per kg. We do not see a shortage of cattle supply in the market. Still, a group of unscrupulous traders are selling beef at increased prices. Many are selling it for Tk650, but they are small in number."
Manjur Mohammad Shahriar, deputy director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection, said, "We are giving our best effort to bring those items, whose prices have gone up, under the control. Prices of many items have already come down due to our drives. We have already brought many unscrupulous businessmen to punishment."
"Now the ball is in the court of the meat traders. We have looked into the reason behind the price increases. Nobody will be spared if any manipulation is found," he warned.
Meanwhile, the cumin price has also gone up all of a sudden. Even a week earlier, per kilogram of cumin was selling for Tk300-400 depending on its quality. But the price has jumped by around Tk200 per kg overnight and now it is selling for Tk500-600.
The TCB said just in a span of seven days the cumin price has jumped by around 45 percent.
Md Rubel, a spice wholesaler in Maulvibazar, said, "There is a shortage in the supply of item."
Sources said cumin used to be brought into the country from India both legally and illegally, which has been stopped now.