Prices of most essential commodities witnessed Thursday a hike in the city's major retail markets ahead of Pahela Baishakh festival.
The nation celebrates the Bangla New Year today (Friday).
Hilsa was dearer in retail markets as usual, which in turn had an impact on the prices of other fishes, thus leaving the limited income group to suffer.
The prices of different kinds of spices, dry fish, mustard oil increased by 15-20 per cent due to the substantial rise in demand for preparing Pahela Baishakh dishes.
Prices of seasonal fruits, beef, mutton, chicken, vegetables and betel leaf also increased remarkably in the last week that ended on Thursday, kitchen market operators said.
Market observers said a lack of market monitoring by government agencies encouraged many traders to raise the prices aiming to make windfall profits.
Going round the Mirpur Section 2 kitchen market , Palashi Bazar and Shantinagar Bazar in the city FE found Hilsa was sold at Tk 600-Tk 1,400 (500 gramme to 850 gm), Tk 1,500 to Tk 2,800 (more than 950 gm) a piece till Thursday noon --a 50 per cent hike, according to traders.
However, Hilsa mobile vendors were also seen across the city who sold stored fish at much lower prices than those of kitchen markets.
Farmed Rui and Katla (above one kg) were sold at Tk 260-Tk 320 while same species from river and beel were selling at Tk 650- Tk 1,200 a kg based on size and quality-a Tk 40-Tk 200 hike each kg.
Prices of Puti, Tengra, Shoul and Taki increased by Tk 80-Tk 100 a kg.
Different varieties of dried fish witnessed a Tk 50-Tk 150 price hike a kg centring round the festival, traders said.
Md Mijanur, a fish trader at Palashi Bazar, said that prices of Hilsa has increased significantly in the last few days at Mawa, Swarighat, and Karwan Bazar wholesales as demand has risen.
Fishing ban in sanctuaries along with the rising demand fuelled prices on the eve of Pahela Baishakh, he said.
President of Bangladesh Fish Traders Association Md Golam Martuza said though price of Hilsa had increased in the last one month, it was much less than that of the previous fest.
However, beef prices increased to Tk 480- Tk 530 a kg from Tk470- Tk 500, broiler chicken to Tk 150-160 from Tk 145-Tk 155, layer chicken to Tk 165-Tk 175 per kg from Tk 160- Tk 170 per kg in the last seven days.
Prices of local poultry birds increased by Tk 20-Tk 30 and sold at Tk 370-Tk 420 a kg in different markets.
Apart from fish and meat, prices of seasonal fruits also showed an increase.
Despite a bumper yield and increased supply, prices of watermelon were much higher, with traders attributing the rise to Pahela Baishakh.
The juicy fruit was selling at Tk 150 to Tk 600 per piece based on quality and size.
Wood apple was selling at Tk 80-Tk 350 each piece based on quality, which was Tk 60-Tk 250 a few days back.
Newly-arrived custard apple was selling at Tk 150-Tk 250 a kg while sapodilla was considerably cheap selling at Tk100-Tk 120 a kg.
Green mango was traded at Tk 80-Tk 200 a kg based on size and quality.