Millions milked in Pre-Eid Profiteering
Sunday, 20 September 2009

Liquid packaged milk were not available in markets in the capital despite the announcement by the state-owned Milk Vita Company that it would keep the supply up until Sunday, ahead of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Milk Vita ran an advert in the daily Prothom Alo on Sunday that milk packets would be supplied until Sunday and that there will not be any supply from Sept 21 to Sept 23.

The supply will resume on Sept 24, it said.

On Saturday, Milk Vita said that it would take action if anybody sold packets more than the fixed rate.

But many traders have already raised the price. People had to buy milk Tk 7-11 more than the fixed price on Saturday and Tk 15 more on Sunday.

Traders say milk producing and marketing companies could not meet the increased demand, and the companies had themselves increased the price.

Shoppers, however, said they could not find popular brands such as Milk Vita in the shops at all.

Abdul Barek, general manager of Milk Vita, refuted the complaints. "There is no shortfall in the supply of Milk Vita to the market. Rather, Milk Vita is producing more milk now in view of the Eid festival."

Milk Vita had a daily production of one lakh litres to one and a half lakh litres. But the company increased its production during Ramadan working in two shifts, producing about three lakh litres a day.

Days ahead of Eid, Milk Vita raised its production further to between three and a half lakh litres and four lakh litres a day, said Barek.

"Milk Vita has not increased the price of milk even by a single taka. As before, we are selling per litre milk at Tk 45, half litre at Tk 23 and 250 gram packet at Tk 13.

"If any trader charges more than the fixed price, action will be taken against him and his dealership may also be cancelled," Barek warned

A visit to different markets in the city in the last two days revealed that BRAC Dairy and Rangpur Diary were supplying adequate milk to the market, but the prices of their milk were more than that of Milk Vita. Per litre milk of BRAC and RD was Tk 46 per packet, 500 gram Tk 24 and 250 gram Tk 14.

Because of increased demand before Eid, milk of these brands were selling from Tk 48 to Tk 50 per litre on Saturday.

Masuma Begum, a housewife in Kafrul, said retailers had increased the price of milk in the lead-up to the Eid. She feared milk price might go up further just before Eid.

Many shopkeepers have reportedly stocked milk to make large profits.

Asked about the rising milk price, Kafrul trader Kibria Tipu and Segunbagicha trader Abu Taher told bdnews24.com that before every Eid, milk producers create an artificial crisis by reducing supply in the market. At the same time, they also increase the price, they alleged.

Aminul Islam, a resident of Mirpur, finally fetched Milk Vita packet after roaming a number of shops but could not buy at the fixed rate. He bought one litre milk at Tk 60 which price is originally set at Tk 45.

He told bdnews24.com: "I have nothing to do. That's why I bought milk at Tk 15 more."

No Milk Vita packet was found in Meena Bazar 'mega shop' on Dhanmondi 27 on Sunday.

Meena Bazar saleswoman Jasmine Sultana told bdnews24.com that Milk Vita did not supply them any packet.

There was supply of Aarong milk, but that also finished before 10am, she said.

At another mega shop Nandan, all packaged milk went out of supply before 10am.

Only RD Milk was available there in the afternoon.

Milk is in great demand for the Eid festival, as an ingredient in many traditional dishes, especially desserts, and buyers are forced to pay more to procure the essential item.

Source: bdnews24.com

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