Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumdar yesterday accused some corporate houses, millers, wholesalers and retailers of causing price spiral of rice through hoarding and issued a stern note of warning asking them to get prepared to land in jail unless they correct themselves.
“They must languish in jail unless the correct themselves. Slapping of mere fines will not be enough for them . . . corporate houses, millers, wholesalers and retailers can’t evade their responsi-bility for the price hike of rice,” he said.
Majumdar added the anti-hoarding campaign has already launched to net the culprits as the gov-ernment is determined to enforce the newly enacted law on illegal food storage, prescribing life term for hoarding as maximum punishment.
The minister said the government is preparing to intensify the nationwide anti-hoarding campaign engaging law enforcement agencies while his ministry already cancelled leaves including weekly holidays of the Food Department officials and staff to enforce the campaign.
“The businessmen must discard their greedy attitude to make extra profits,” he said.
The minister’s comments came days after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina asked authorities con-cerned to send to jail the hoarders and market manipulators saying the sudden price-hike of rice and other essentials after the election was a “very abnormal matter”.
Rice market is visibly exposed to instability for the past two weeks with several market analysts attributing the phenomenon to poor vigilance and extreme monopoly of some big businesses prices of most rice varieties are on the rise in the capital and elsewhere.
Director General (DG) of National Consumers Right Protection AHM Shafiquzzaman said as part of the campaign his office would ensure display of wholesale and retail price chart both at whole-sale and retailers level.
“Every retail outlets must collect and keep cash memos of their purchasing. Joint drives will be conducted against the enlisted rice millers by the food department, local administration and na-tional consumers’ right protection directorate,” he said.