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2 July, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Keeping prices of essentials stable

It is good that the government is taking steps to ensure that the prices of essential goods do not spiral out of control
Saleh Mahmood Riadh
Keeping prices of essentials stable

It was Ramadan and most of the fasting people wanted a beguni or eggplant fritters while breaking the Roza .So under that certain circumstances eggplants quickly were awarded special high price . Then why not cucumber and similar "ifter item" like potato and green chili? However potato was not lucky enough thanks  to the round the year availability and the Munshigonj farmers' contribution to potato production. Chilies were a tricky player. It does not necessarily mean that it was as tricky as world cup football heroes like Ronaldo and  Messi. Unscrupulous veg. traders and inclement weather combinedly helped chilies to get a price boost in the market.
But all these are old stories. A decade back the mentioned syndrome was available in the Ramadan market, where almost all the vegetables  had enjoyed extraordinary high price, sometimes four to six folds higher. This instant value-added honour  made a so called spiritual glory to those items in one hand and on the other hand middle class and lower middle class fasting groups became completely fed-up  with the kitchen market's caricature. Definitely that was an awkward position for the economists and growers . Both had no clue why the green world was not green indeed, rather it was a complex and dark pricing system. The Govt. and concerned agencies were in  trouble with the unpredictable price mechanism as they had been under attack of media and consumers. Still I can remember the very fact that many consumers like me methodically avoided much-awaited eggplants and happily moved to eggs. Eggs were rather much friendly to the fasting people particularly. The  people who bought the mouth -watering  beguni   from ifter market had in fact found papiya slice in the item. That was really a  golden day for eggplants. Some low price vegetables were 'proud'  of being 'representatives' of eggplants and at  the same time few others had the similar "special value".  Two  other most important and inevitable kitchen items, viz: onion and garlic had  experienced  the  same hike status.
Well, I myself make a regular visit to the kitchen market from the very beginning of the holy month. This has been happening for the last four decades. But the last ten to twelve years I have been seeing  new scenario; I should say a scenario of changing  phenomenon in the market.  To be more clear to our readers I would say the prices of the kitchen commodities have been experiencing quite a stability. For example, this year I found eggplants are sold at a high price at least three times more than the Pre Ramadan price. Just after three days  eggplants lost their special Ramadan offer. Other kitchen items embraced the same fate. Garlic and Onion were not exception .So far I can remember  in the last 10 -12 years I found almost same nature of the pricing. Surprisingly enough, the decade long market stability did not attract the eyes of some quarters who deliberately failed to evaluate the market. Of course  they must have legality to form any sort of  equation to judge the pricing behavior. under such circumstances economists may point their fingers to many  directions but the market itself speaks of a different story.
Is it  the Government, or NGO or any other party who made possible the Ramadan market stable? the answer is as simple as like anything. It is the govt. who has taken every possible measure to make the market accessible to the middle and lower middle class people in Ramadan. There had been strict monitoring, smooth supply line  and a continuous supervision on the market so that no one can  pave the passage  of producing unscrupulous practice.  That was not in deed an easy job to be done. The Govt. was quite  aware of the fact that a certain quarter always tries to push the market toward an invisible hand which has some tricky strategy that illegally governs the market.
Thanks to the mentioned intervention, the people are getting expected price tags in the holy month. And the aftermath is having the same scenario.

The writer is a columnist.
He can be reached at



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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