‘Shop less for low prices’

Shopping too much at one go can destabilise the market, according to officials and businessmen who met to keep prices stable during Ramadan.
Businessmen and police joined the talks held by the Chittagong district administration at the port city’s World Trade Centre on Wednesday. 

Citizens should be careful not to buy in excess of daily needs, as a buying spree could cause market panic, said Chittagong Metropolitan Police (CMP) Commissioner Iqbal Bahar.   

Businesses tend to take advantage when people buy more than they need, said Syed Chagir Ahmed, a businessman from Khatunganj. 

The hoarding of two weeks to a month’s supplies triggers a crisis, he said. 

Prices of commodities soar during Ramadan, the month of fasting that ends with Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest festival for Muslims. 

“Most countries offer discounts during festivals, but, here, Eid is an excuse to make everything costlier,” said the CMP commissioner. 

Businessmen, however, pointed a finger at police, alleging the force extorted money from drivers of good vehicles, thus making commodities costlier.  

Commissioner Iqbal sought specific complaints and promised stern action.
Deputy Commissioner Mesbah Uddin said mobile teams and monitoring cells would be deployed, as ordered by the Commerce Ministry, to prevent an artificial market crisis. 

Mahbubul Alam, president of the Chittagong Chamber of Commerce, said chickpea prices were already up from $780 to $1,060 per tonne, but the prices of onion, garlic, and soybean oil were expected to drop soon.