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Open market sale fails to make any impact on retail rice prices
Refayet Ullah Mirdha

The Open Market Sales (OMS) of rice have failed to make any impact on the prices of staple food even after 15 days of its launching. The prices of different varieties of rice have been continuing at their previous high in spite of the government's efforts to control.
"We are also astonished to see that the prices of rice did not fall in the markets though the prices of the items did not register further," said a highly placed official of the Ministry of Food and Disaster Management while talking to the FE Saturday.
He said more than 1300 dealers across the country have been selling rice at Tk 14.50 per kg since October 1, with a view to reining in the prices of rice. But, the prices of rice remained unchanged at their previous high, he agreed.
"We have already sold the first installment of rice at reduced rate of Tk 4.0 per kg and the second installment will be sold on the eve of the Eid-ul-Fitr," he said. The second phase of distribution of rice amounting to 60,000 tonnes under Vulnerable Group Feeding (VGF) will begin also before the Eid.
He said the ministry will continue its three programmes -- OMS, selling at reduced rate and VGF -- until the next Aman harvesting.
When asked, some buyers of the OMS rice at the city's Palashi Bazar said the quality of the rice was not good. As a result, the consumers prefer to buy quality rice paying a little high from the nearby shops, they complained.
"We are just selling the rice delivered by the ministry and we cannot do anything about the quality of rice," said the dealers while talking about the quality to the FE.
Babul Chand, manager of the Shafique Rice Agency at the city's Karwan Bazar said the rice markets remained steady in spite of the government's various initiatives to control the prices of rice.
He said prices of coarse varieties of rice were selling between Tk 15.0 and Tk 15.10 per kg while the medium quality of rice were selling between Tk 15.50 and Tk 16.0 per kg.
At the retail level, the coarse varieties of rice were selling between Tk 17 and Tk 18 per kg while medium quality varieties of rice were selling between Tk 20 and Tk 22 per kg for a long time in the country, traders said.
Shah Uddin, an OMS dealer at Palashi Bazar said the OMS of rice is getting response from the consumers steadily for the last four to five days.
The response from the consumers was very poor in the beginning of the OMS.