A file photo shows bottled soya bean oil at a shop in Dhaka. Consumers are feeling the pinch of price hikes of essential commodities amid the Covid outbreak despite assurances from the government of stabilising the market.— New Age photo

Consumers are feeling the pinch of price hikes of essential commodities amid the Covid outbreak despite assurances from the government of stabilising the market.

The prices of edible oil, sugar and broiler chicken increased in the city’s kitchen markets over the week ending on Friday.

Traders said that the prices of edible oil and sugar went up on the local market as the prices of the commodities increased on the international market.

The commerce ministry on Wednesday held a meeting with the traders over the price scenario of essential commodities and asked them not to make excessive profit on the pretext of the price hike of commodities on the international market.

At the meeting, commerce secretary Tapan Kanti Ghosh asked the traders not to increase the prices of the commodities further in August saying that the price of soya bean oil was set at Tk 139 a litre and the price of sugar was set at Tk 75-80 a kg on the market.

The price of edible oil had increased by Tk 2-3 a litre while the price of sugar increased by Tk 10 a kilogram in the last two weeks.

Unpackaged soya bean oil sold for Tk 128-130 a litre and super palm oil sold for Tk 117-120 a litre on Friday.

A one-litre bottle of soya bean oil sold for Tk 150 while five litres of packaged soya bean oil sold for Tk 680-720 on the day.

Consumers were aggrieved over the price hike of the essential items saying that it had become increasingly difficult for them to cope up with the situation.

Many families were struggling to meet their expenses with commodities prices continuously rising and some even say that they were constantly looking for cheaper alternatives to make ends meet.

Laila Mustarin, a retired teacher who lives at Mirpur, said that she was struggling to stay within budget every month as commodity prices kept increasing, particularly the prices of edible oil.

‘My family and I have begun looking for cheaper alternatives or cut back on many food items to make ends meet every month,’ she said.

Imported refined sugar retailed at Tk 78-80 a kg while locally produced packaged sugar retailed at Tk 85 a kg on Friday.

The price of broiler chicken increased by Tk 5 a kg and the item was selling for Tk 135-145 a kg on the day.

The Sonali variety of chicken was selling for Tk 200-210 a kg and the local variety was selling for Tk 500 a kg on the day.

Beef was selling for Tk 580-600 a kg while mutton was selling for Tk 800-850 a kg in the city markets on Friday.

Rohita sold for Tk 250-280 a kg and Katla for Tk 230-260 a kg, depending on size and quality.

Pangas sold for Tk 130-180 a kg and Tilapia for Tk 120-160 a kg.

The prices of rice remained high in the city markets over the week.

Although the government reduced the import duty on the staple to 25 per cent from 62.5 per cent to control the prices on the local market, it hardly made any impact on the market.

The coarse variety of rice was selling for Tk 50-52 a kg while the medium quality variety was selling for Tk 55-60 a kg in the city markets on Friday.

The standard variety of Miniket rice sold for Tk 63-65 a kg and the fine variety sold for Tk 66-68 a kg.

Najirshail rice sold for Tk 68-70 a kg in the city.

Ramiz Mia, a rickshaw puller who lives at Basabo, said that his family had cut down on rice consumption over the past few months and had only seen any beef during Eid-ul-Azha.

‘I don’t remember eating three meals in a day for a very long time. If the commodity prices keep soaring like they are, people like us would no longer be able to live in Dhaka city,’ he said.

The prices of red lentils remained high over the week as well.

The coarse variety sold for Tk 75-80 a kg and the medium quality variety sold for Tk 90-95 a kg on the market on Friday.

The fine variety of red lentil sold for Tk 115-120 a kg on the day.

The price of eggs remained high over the week and the item was selling for Tk 34-36 a hali (four pieces) on Friday.

The prices of vegetables remained stable in the city markets over the week.

Aubergine sold for Tk 40-60 a kg, papaya for Tk 25-30 a kg, bitter gourd for Tk 40-50 a kg, bottle gourd for Tk 40-50 apiece, okra for Tk 40 a kg, pointed gourd for Tk 40-50 a kg, cucumber for Tk 60-70 a kg and tomato for Tk 120-150 a kg on Friday.

Green chilli was sold for Tk 100 a kg on Friday.

The prices of onions remained unchanged. The local variety sold for Tk 50-55 a kg and the imported variety sold for Tk 4550 a kg in the capital on the day.

The imported variety of garlic retailed at Tk 120-130 a kg while the local variety sold for Tk 80-90 a kg.

The prices of ginger remained unchanged. The imported variety sold for Tk 160-180 a kg and the local variety retailed at Tk 130160 a kg on Friday.

The prices of fish remained unchanged in the city markets over the week.

Fine-quality packaged salt retailed at Tk 35 a kg and the refined variety at Tk 25 a kg on the day.

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