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12 traders manipulating Cox’s Bazar’s onion business

  • Published at 10:51 pm November 6th, 2019
Workers sorting out onions at a warehouse in Cox Bazar on November 6, 2019 Dhaka Tribune

Chittagong District Administration has identified as many as 15 syndicates

People from low-income group are reeling from the unprecedented increase in the price of onion, although onions keep coming from Myanmar through the land-port in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar.  

Chittagong District Administration has identified as many as 15 syndicates, involved in onion price hike, 12 of them in Cox’s Bazaar. 

The administration has already issued a recommendation to the Cox’s Bazar District Administration seeking action against the syndicates operating in the region. 

Meanwhile, the importers at the Teknaf land-port say that they are forced to sell the imported onions at high prices because the onion they are getting from Myanmar is high-priced and most of these are rotten as well, as onion harvesting season in Myanmar is nearing its end.

Md Masudur Rahman Molla, additional district administrator in Cox’s Bazar, said: "We are continuing with our drive against those involved in onion price-hike. We are also trying to investigate into the reasons why traders are selling the produce at such high process."

He also said that the Cox’s Bazaar District Administration did not receive any list of syndicates from the Chittagong District Administration. 

Neither have they received any recommendation from the later for taking action against any syndicate. 

“If we receive such recommendation, we will give due importance to the matter,” he assured. 

Md Sahjahan Ali, Cox’s Bazar district marketing officer, said: "Onion is selling at prices ranging from Tk100 to Tk120 per kg in markets of Cox’s Bazar town and other areas in the district." 

“We are unable to take any legal action against the traders in Cox’s Bazar, as they have papers that clearly show that they purchased the produce from Khatunganj, Chittagong at wholesale prices that range from Tk85 to Tk87. Therefore, if we must take action, we must do so against the wholesale traders who are supplying the produce from the port city,” said Sahjahan Ali, adding: "Nevertheless, we are holding our position, and continuously monitoring the onion market." 

Some 12 syndicates that the Chittagong District Administration identified include those led by the importers Shojeeb, Zohir, and Saddam and sellers Forkan, Shofi, Mintu, Khaleque, and Tipu. 

Importer Md Saleque Prokash Shojeeb, whose name is at the top of the list of syndicates in Cox’s Bazar, said: “We don’t have any syndicate. The onion harvesting season in Myanmar is almost over. And Myanmar has increased its onion export price to an unusual level. Besides, it costs Tk80 to Tk85 for transporting each kilogram of onion from Myanmar to Teknaf land-port”. He added that onion was rotting in sacks before reaching the land-port.  

Zahir, another importer whose name is on the list of syndicates, also echoed Shojeeb, saying that he won’t import any onion in the future, as onions were rotting in hundreds of sacks amid price increases by Myanmar.

According to Md Afsar Uddin, customs super at Teknaf land-port, 1,580 tons of onion reached Technaf land-port from Mayanmar until November 4.