An intelligence agency has identified a hoarding syndicate behind the rice price spiral and suggested taking stern actions against the hoarders, officials say.
The agency said members of the auto rice mills owners' association hoarded a large volume of the paddy following the harvesting season. And they are now creating an artificial crisis in the market with an ill-motive of hiking the rice-price .
In recent weeks, rice price has gone up significantly making it beyond the purchasing capacity of common people. The government has been forced to intervene in the market.
The food ministry has fixed mill-gate price of miniket rice at Tk 51.50 and medium quality rice at Tk 45 per kilogramme to tame the price spiral.
The Prime Minister's Office has recently forwarded the report to the commerce and food ministries to take necessary actions so that price can be brought down to a tolerable level.
Presently, there is a stock of 1.3 million tonnes of food grain under the government arrangement.
Of the total, over 1.0 million tonnes are rice, 56,001 tonnes are paddy, and 0.3 million tonnes are wheat.
The agency report, referring to a study of the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI), noted there is no possibility of food supply shortfall in the country.
Over 0.55 million tonnes of rice/paddy will remain surplus in the country after meeting the country's existing demand until November, according to the report.
A senior official of the food ministry said there is no valid reason for the sudden price hike of rice in the market.
Rice prices, however, remained almost static during the last couple of weeks with coarse variety selling from Tk 46 to Tk 50, medium quality from Tk 52 to Tk 55 and finer rice at Tk 60 and Tk 70 a kg in the city's retail markets on Monday.
The intelligence agency suggested operating mobile courts and enhancing monitoring at the district level, and fixing retail price to control price hike in rice.
It also suggested cancelling licences of mill owners while taking stern actions against the people who are responsible for the price spiral.