Dhaka's wholesalers have decided to halt selling potatoes in fear of facing raids and fines amid the skyrocketing price of the vegetable, though the country reported record production and adequate potatoes in stock.
However, the traders claimed that the cold storages are charging extra price compared to the government-decided price directed towards potato selling to control unusual price hike in the market.
A meeting is scheduled to take place at 3pm today in this regard between the cold storage owners and the concerned department of the government.
According to the potato traders of the capital's Karwan Bazar area, the decision was made to avoid the fine if they do not sell at the fixed price of Tk30 per kilogram, which was determined by the Department of Agriculture.
"It is not possible to do business as the administration is conducting raids and imposing fines on us every day," said potato wholesaler Mohammad Hafiz, adding that, "We won't resume our business as long as it continues."
Manzur Mohammad Shahriar, deputy director of the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), told The Business Standard that the potato warehouse owners, wholesalers and retailers in different districts are being instructed and advised to keep the price stable according to the government directives.
"Those fined were mainly because they couldn't show legal trade documents including the purchase receipt," he added.
In order to tame the soaring price, the government intervened and announced to sell potatoes through the state-owned Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) at Tk 25 per kg under its open market sales (OMS) programme.
Earlier, the government fixed the maximum retail price of potato at Tk 30 per kg as the price of the vegetable rose up to a record high of Tk 50-55 per kg last week.