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Govt reminds rice millers of new rules on price, variety on sacks

15 April 2024

The new rules are coming into effect two months after they were finalised

The government has reminded rice millers of new rules that require them to prominently display their name, location, production date, price, and variety on all rice sacks prior to distribution. 

The new rules are coming into effect on Sunday, over two months after they were finalised. The food ministry issued a notice as a reminder on Saturday.

This information must be printed and not handwritten, according to a directive.

Corporate firms supplying rice can also put a maximum retail price or MRP on the sacks weighing 50 kg, 25 kg, 10 kg, 5 kg, 2 kg and 1 kg.

If the millers do not follow this order, they will face up to 5 years in jail or Tk 1.5 million fines or both under the Production, Storage, Transfer, Transport, Supply, Distribution and Marketing of Foodstuffs (Prevention of Harmful Activities) Act 2023.

After the decision was finalised in a meeting on Feb 6, Food Minister Sadhan Chandra Majumder said it would allow the customers to know the rates offered at mill gates.

The notice said inspections confirmed traders were selling the same variety of rice with different names at different rates.

The millers, wholesalers and retailers are blaming each other whenever prices rise abnormally.

These irregularities deprive the customers of their right to fair price and to buying the variety of their choice.

In some cases, they face financial losses.

“The decisions were taken to overcome this situation by ensuring tolerable and reasonable prices, marketing of rice in its original variety, and facilitating monitoring,” the notice said.

In a sweeping crackdown on price gouging, millions of takas in fines imposed during thousands of enforcement actions over a 20-day span starting Jan 21, but these efforts to stabilise rice prices in Bangladesh after an unusual surge have fallen short.

After experiencing an abnormal price increase of up to Tk 6 per kilogram—even during the harvest season, when prices typically fall—the maximum reduction achieved was merely Tk 3 per kilogram.

The spike in prices coincided with the general elections, prompting the newly re-elected Awami League government to take immediate action.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself issued stern warnings against price gouging, threatening imprisonment for traders caught hoarding, especially rice, during mobile court operations.

Source : bdnews24