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Price hike of essentials: a continuous challenge for the Care Taker Government January 5, 2008

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The price of rice, the most essential food for Bangladeshi citizen , had been rising continuously in the last few days. There are reasons for the price hike but one cannot explain all by visible theories the steep rise of price only in a few days period. The reasons for the rise are the effects of 2 floods and a devastating hurricane, rise of price in the international market, the diminishing stock in the local market, sudden declaration of price rise by India from 425 US$ to 500 US$. But the most panicky impact was created by the comment made by the Food Adviser Tapan Chowdhury when he said that the government has nothing to do with the price hike. A buying spree and a frustration gripped the common men and long queue has developed in the controlled priced shops of BDR.

Government tried to correct itself. The Finance Adviser declared that there are still many options left for the government to do. The Advisers’ Committee hold special meeting and discussed means to overcome the crisis. They met with the ambassadors and representatives and appeal to the friendly countries and donor agencies to extend their support in this crisis. Some countries responded especially Thailand and WFP is also responding encouragingly. New LCs have also been open for import of rice.

Food Adviser declared OMS (Open Market Sale) to start immediately. The BDR shops for selling rice at reasonable price have been stepped up their service. Suggestion has also come to import rice and other essentials through BDR. The Chief of Army Staff has declared the price hike as a catastrophe for the country and requested all to come forward to overcome the crisis.

The political parties have taken up the issue and are blaming the government for its failure to control the price. AL is even demanding to handover the power early by bringing the date for national election 6 months earlier though it is doubtful for the voter list to be completed by that time.

But the most dramatic comment came from Akbar Ali Khan, an ex- Adviser of the immediate past Care Taker Government, ‘Government should feed 15 million people free’. The immediate past CTG miserably failed to hold a peaceful election.

The Anti-Corruption Chairman Mashud Chowdhury said that unusual price hike is a matter of corruption and they will look into the matter and find out the persons who are liable for this.

The control of price of the essentials remains a challenge for the CTG even after one year of its governance. Natural calamities, high price in the international market, continuity of reservation of the businessmen, adversity from the political parties etc make the task of the government difficult.

But as Professor Wahiduddin Mahmood said if the CTG fails to control the prices, it will be difficult for them to fulfill their other objectives.

An ordinary citizen


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