Edible oil crisis: Drives against hoarders on
The ongoing drive against illegal hoarding of edible oil continued in the country yesterday with another 3,400 litres of oil seized in two districts and hoarders fined Tk1.60 lakh.
After the seizure, the Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection (DNCRP), an agency of the commerce ministry, sold the cooking oil to people through the hoarders at the price printed on bottles.
In Munshiganj, the DNCRP conducted a three-hour drive and seized 2,100 litres of soybean oil from Shahjalal Store in Rikabibazar, Laxmi Store and Sayeed Store in Muktarpur.
Owners of the three shops were also fined Tk 60,000.
The agency officials asked the shop owners to sell the oil at the price printed on bottles. At that time, several hundred people queued up in front of the shops to buy oil.
In Manikganj, the DNCRP seized 1,300 litres of soybean oil from a warehouse in the town yesterday noon.
The warehouse, Kalipada & Sons, was fined Tk1 lakh for illegal hoarding, said Asaduzzaman Rumel, assistant director of DNCRP.
"We have found evidence that the warehouse owner bought the oil at previously fixed price and then stocked it illegally. He was selling the oil at hiked price," said Rumel.
Between Monday and Thursday, the government seized over 6.34 lakh litres of edible oil from warehouses and shops across the country.
On Thursday, officials seized around 3.5 lakh litres of edible oil in eight districts and fined hoarders Tk 4.35 lakh. Two thirds of the recoveries were made in three warehouses in Khulna.
The government launched the drive as cooking oil almost disappeared from retail shops across the country before the Eid on May 3. Two days later, the government hiked the prices.
The price of bottled soybean oil was fixed at Tk 198 a litre, a 23.75 percent rise from the previous price of Tk160. The price of a five-litre container was fixed at Tk 985, up by 29.60 percent from Tk 760. Besides, the price of loose soybean oil was hiked to Tk 180 a litre from Tk 136, an increase of 32.35 percent.
Unscrupulous traders were blamed for hoarding edible oil to create an artificial crisis in the market to be able to sell it at higher prices.
Our correspondents in Munshiganj and Manikganj contributed to this report.