After a raid on Khatunganj–the country's largest wholesale market for consumer goods– by the local administration, onion suppliers have increased the price of this kitchen item.
The price of onion has increased by Tk12 per kilogramme in the space of just three days. And in the interval of a week, the price has increased by Tk20.
Concerned people say that the suppliers are creating instability on the onion market by challenging the district administration's raid. The recent raid was conducted to decrease the onion price that had been hiked by market manipulation.
However, differing information was found about the onion price after talking to onion traders in Khatunganj on Wednesday.
On September 6, Chattogram District Administration Executive Magistrate Umar Faruk and Shirin Akhter led a raid and fined 10 onion stockists Tk77,000 on various charges.
Later on September 7, the onion traders went on strike in protest of the raid. Since then, the price of onion has been going up.
SM Nazer Hossain, vice president of the Consumers Association of Bangladesh (CAB), told The Business Standard that frequently, without legal import clearances, commission agents of importers, without opening LCs, and some traders, are creating instability on the market.
"Using the same approach in 2019, all these traders created instability on the onion market. In this situation, it is urgent to stop illegal paperless trade in the name of importer's agents and to ensure transparency in the trade of consumer goods; including onions," he said.
The large industrial groups have started importing onions this time as they have made profits worth crores. They raised onion prices by creating an artificial crisis last year, he added.
"The administration is helpless. We have to continue the way they manage the onion market," added Nazer.
Mohammad Idris, general secretary of the Hamid Ullah Market Traders' Association which sells onions, said, "Onions were sold at Tk20-22 per kilogramme a month ago. They were sold at Tk30 a week ago and Tk38 on September 5. After the September 6 raid, onions are being sold at Tk40-42."
"It is not correct that onion was sold at Tk48-50 at different markets," he claimed.
Also, he denied the allegation that the onion price was increased to challenge the administration's raid.
Meanwhile, Mohammad Jahangir Alam, president of Chaktai Khatunganj Trader and General Businessmen Welfare Association, said onions were being sold at Tk48 to Tk50 per kilogramme on Wednesday.
However, he denied the allegation of suppliers being manipulated to increase the onion price.
Shirin Akhter, executive magistrate of Chattogram district administration, said, some of the traders in Khatunganj were fined during the district administration's drive on September 6.
"Messrs Barkat Bhandar was fined Tk10,000, Messrs Gopal Banijya Bhandar was fined Tk10,000, Messrs Haji Mohiuddin Saudagar was fined Tk10,000, Messrs Sekander & Sons was fined Tk10,000, Mohammadia Banijalaya was fined Tk10,000, Mohammad Jalal Uddin Tk5,000, Grameen Banijalaya Tk5,000, Arafat Traders Tk5,000, Messrs Bagdarik Corporation Tk5,000, and Shahadat Traders Tk2,000, as they did not have purchase invoices," she said.
After the 10 traders were fined, the other traders went on strike, added the executive magistrate.
"However, our campaigns in different markets have continued. And we will keep monitoring to control the onion price," added Shirin Akhter, the executive magistrate of Chattogram district administration.