Consumers are under pressure due to unbridled prices of consumer goods.
The prices of rice and onion have not come down even two days after the government fixed the prices.
In Dhaka, Miniket rice was being sold at Tk58-62 per kilogram (kg) on Thursday, which was between Tk55 and Tk58 a few days ago. And, BR-28, as medium quality rice, was being sold at Tk50-55 a kg, up from Tk45-50 in the previous week.
Two days ago, the government fixed the wholesale price of Miniket rice at Tk51.50 per kg and medium quality rice at Tk45 a kg. In this ratio, the prices of various qualities of rice were supposed to come down in the retail market.
Asked why the prices were not down even after the government announcement, retailers and wholesalers in Dhaka claimed they had not yet brought the staple at the new price.
Md Saeed, a seller at Allahr Dan shop in Dhaka's Karwan Bazar, said when the sale of the current stock of rice is over, I will buy rice at the new price. Until then, there is no scope for reducing the prices, he added.
Shafiqul Islam, a wholesaler in Dhaka's Babubazar, said it would take another two to three days for rice prices to fall because the price will go down only when everyone buys rice at the new rate.
Traders in Kushtia and Naogaon said rice sales at the new prices had started there.
Kazi Rakibul Hasan, assistant director of Kushtia district consumers' rights department, said, "I have been monitoring the market since morning. I have checked the money receipts of all those who bought rice at mill gates. Rice is being sold at the price fixed by the government."
Meanwhile, the price of onion has increased even though imported onions from various countries have arrived in the country.
Local onion was being sold at Tk90 per kg on Thursday, although the price decreased to Tk80 a week or 10 days ago.
According to the market analysis of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the price of onion has gone up by Tk20 per kg in a week.
Onion vendors said supply shortages had caused the surge in prices. But buyers said, "The onion market is hostage to a syndicate of dishonest traders and that is why traders are doing whatever they want."
Shariful Hasan, a private employee who came to shop at Karwan Bazar, said, "The government has no control over the market. That is why traders are doing whatever they want. And, we are being crushed by the pressure of increased costs."
"There is no one to think about the consumers. The government could have taken action if it wanted, but there is no visible action. So, the prices of rice, onion, pulses and oil are high now," said Md Wasim, a shopper at Rampura market.
On the other hand, edible oil prices have been rising steadily for days. Traders claimed India and China were buying extra crude soybean oil, which had pushed up prices.
Mohammad Ali, an edible oil trader in Maulvi Bazar, said, "India and China are buying a lot of oil. That is why prices have become volatile. No oil is available from the mill gate."
According to the TCB's market analysis, the price of open soybean has gone up by 6.5% to Tk93-95 a litre and palm oil by 14.69% to Tk70-75 in the last one month. A month ago, the price of palm oil was Tk70-73.