Open market sale of essentials begins amid short supply

Dhaka,  Sun,  24 September 2017
Published : 15 May 2017, 21:54:01

Open market sale of essentials begins amid short supply

FE Report

Open market sale (OMS) of essentials ahead of the fasting month of Ramadan by the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB) kicked off in the city on Monday with considerable response from consumers.

A small volume of supplies against high demand, however, deprived consumers of getting the subsidised products.  

Many city dwellers claimed dealers were providing lesser volume of products instead of quantity, as directed by the TCB.

Meanwhile, date is yet to be included in the OMS trucks. Other four products including sugar, chickpea, lentil and soybean oil were sold.        

A total of 185 trucks with 33 in Dhaka, 10 in Chittagong, five each in other divisional cities and two each in district towns started selling the essential commodities.

The TCB has set a target of daily sale of 300-400 kgs of sugar, 250-300 kgs of lentil, 400-800 kgs of chickpea, and 300-400 litres of soybean oil on a truck.

A consumer is allowed to buy highest 4 kgs of sugar, 3 kgs of lentil, 5 litres of soybean oil, 5 kgs of chickpea and one kg of date from the OMS facility.

Soybean oil price has been fixed at Tk 85 a litre, sugar Tk 55 a kg, lentil Tk 80, chickpea Tk 70 and date Tk 120 per kg.

Visiting some TCB outlets in the capital, the FE correspondent found crowds in queue for subsidised products from 10.00am to 12.30pm and from 3.30pm up to the end of official time at 5.00pm.

OMS trucks, however, were seen leaving their fixed places much earlier than the official time.

Ms Afsana Begum, a betel leaf and cigarette vendor, was seen bargaining with an OMS seller at Mohakhali Bazar in the city over purchasing chickpea.

"I want four kgs of the product but they are giving me just two kgs," she told the FE.

Tariqul islam, an employee of the Agricultural Information Services (AIS) also shared his same experience at Khamarbari area in the city.

Mr Islam further said he found low quality of chickpea and lentil this year.

Md Riad, a representative of M/S Amena Traders, dealer of Mohakhali OMS truck, said they have been selling products in lesser volume to provide those to maximum number of consumers.

An official at the TCB said they are providing only 2,000 tonnes of lentil, 2,200 tonnes of chickpea, 1,000 tonnes of soybean oil and 19 tonnes of date this Ramadan which is an insignificant quanity considering the demand.

He said demand for sugar is 0.23 million tonnes in Ramadan when our stock is only 1,000 tonnes.   

Ramadan will begin between May 27 and May 29 subject to appearance of moon. But prices of essentials increased significantly in last three weeks.

Sugar prices increased by 10 per cent to Tk 70-75 a kg while chickpea by 15 per cent to Tk 85 to Tk 120 a kg based on quality over the last three weeks across the country, according to the TCB.
Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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