The Ministry of Commerce (MoC)will start an intensive market monitoring drive from the first week of nextmonth with a view to curbing price manipulations during the upcoming Ramzan,officials said.
"The ministry will conduct 14 market monitoring teams in thecapital starting from July 2 and will continue up to the last day ofAugust," a senior MoC official told The New Nation yesterday.
The teams comprising officials fromthe ministry of agriculture, home and industries, both the city corporations,FBCCI, local administration, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP), Directorate ofNational Consumers Rights Protection (DNCRP) will supervise the market.
"The market monitoring including mobile courts is expected toshield the traders' bid to hike commodity prices artificially, a commonpractice by market 'cartels' during the holly month of Ramzan," he added.
Besides, separate teams will alsoconduct such drives at the divisional headquarters and district levels to curbthe efforts of price hike by dishonest traders. "The divisional anddistrict administration will also conduct regular market monitoring drive andmobile court operations and examine supply situation so that market pricesremain stable," he added.
The monitoring teams will visitthe city's kitchen markets and examine the price lists at the wholesale andretail level, check food adulteration, proper weighting, price tags on packedcommodities and BSTI authorization for marketing a product.
"If the traders found guilty, they will be penalized or facedetention as per the rules of Consumers Rights Protection Act," hewarned.
The official said the governmentintelligence agencies would also submit report on market scenario to the MoC onevery Thursday till the last date of Ramadan.
He also expressed satisfactionover the present demand, supply and stock situation of essential commoditiesand hoped that the market will remain stable during the fasting month.
Meanwhile, prices of mostcommodities started soaring in the market far before the holly Ramzan, causingtension to consumers.
The country's Muslim devotees arepreparing for Ramzan fasting, starts from next month.
Despite adequate supply, pricesof edible oil, flour, lentil, garlic, onion, gram, dates, potato, eggs, broilerchicken and vegetables are already on rise in the city's kitchen market.
"A business syndicatescomprising large importers are raising prices of commodities when their pricesare declining in the international market," alleged a trader at MoulviBazar, which house the city's largest wholesale commodity market.
He said cartels is dictatingprices of these commodities from behind the scene with a view to makingwindfall gain making the commodity market volatile well ahead of the Ramzan.
The same cartel has enhancedmarket prices of potato to Tk 25 per kg from Tk 12, gram prices to Tk 75 fromTk 65, lentil (red) Tk 120 from TK 110, loose soybean Tk 135 from Tk 125,canned soybean Tk 670 from Tk 660, onion Tk 32 from Tk 28, broiler chicken Tk175 from Tk 165 and eggs Tk 40 from Tk 36 for per four a month ago.
"Such practice of thebusiness syndicate is going on unabated over the years, but, the government hasfailed to break the unholy nexus of the cartels and bring stability in thecommodity market," said Md Mohsin, Md Mohsin, a private service holder,told The New Nation yesterday.
The traders are going by theirpast maneuvering and we are worried about the market situation, he added.
Expressing his frustration hesaid traders during a meeting with commerce minister assured him of a stable price situation during the Ramzan.
"But their promises hardlymatch with action and the consumers are going to bear the brunt of a highercommodity prices," he added.