POST TIME: 18 November, 2019 00:00 00 AM
High Court to intervene if onion prices do not fall

High Court to intervene if onion prices do not fall

A High Court (HC) bench yesterday (Sunday) said it would intervene if the authorities do not take immediate steps to reduce onion prices in the local market. The HC bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice K M Hafizul Alam came up with the comments while the petitioner, advocate Tanvir Ahmed, moved before the bench for holding a hearing on a writ petition filed over the issue. The HC bench also suggested the petitioner to wait and observe for a week as the government is concerned about the matter. Earlier in the morning, the Supreme Court (SC) lawyer filed the writ petition with the HC seeking a direction on the relevant bodies of the government to take immediate necessary steps to monitor and control onion prices in the local market. The writ petitioner also prayed to the court to direct the respondents to constitute an independent inquiry committee to investigate the unexpected increases in the prices of onions within a week and submit the compliance report in the court within two weeks.

The petitioner sought a rule upon the respondents to show cause as to why the inaction and apathy to monitor and control the hike in the price of onions in the local market should not be declared illegal and as to why the respondents should not be directed take immediate necessary steps to monitor and control onion prices in the local market. The commerce secretary, the agriculture secretary, the director-general of the directorate of national consumer rights protection, the chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), the chairman of the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the president of the Federation of the Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the inspector-general of police have been made respondents in the writ petition.

The petition said, “Onion is one of the major ingredients of cooking in our country. We all depend on onion for cooking. Therefore, we cannot think of proper cooking without onion because of its impact on our regular food habits.”

“The unexpected increase in onion price affects us all over the country. Especially the poor people are more affected, because it erodes their purchasing power. But it seems that the accountable authorities neither take any initiatives nor give them any support. If this situation continues, it would also affect our agriculture sector on a long-term basis,” observed the petition.

“The onion business is under the control of a syndicate and they artificially raise and lower the prices. In addition, they mark down the price of onions at the time of harvesting and so the farmer might get affected even more. So, in these circumstances, proper steps are necessary on a both short- and long-term basis to prevent further damage,” read the petition.

Earlier, on November 16, the petitioner sent a legal notice to the respondents to take necessary steps in this regard within 24 hours. Otherwise, legal proceedings would be initiated against them, warned the notice.