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'Sugar crisis' hits Chittagong

By : The Daily Star|Updated: 2011-08-05

Dwaipayan Barua, CtgWholesale and retail markets in Chittagong have been facing an acute sugar crisis over the last few days due to refiners' tight supply of the sweetener.

Sugar retailers complained that they could not buy their required amount of the commodity from wholesale shops in Khatunganj and Pahartali markets in the last two days.

A retailer said some wholesalers at the Khatunganj market sold sugar at Tk 64 a kilogram yesterday, but the quantity was too meagre to meet demand.

But many wholesalers at the two big wholesale points sold sugar at Tk 72 to Tk 73 yesterday.

Abul Bashar, a retailer and also the proprietor of Bashar Traders at Karnaphuli CDA Market, said his son failed to buy a sack of sugar from Khatunganj at the government's fixed rate even after queuing at different wholesale shops for hours on Monday. Bashar bought a 50-kg sack of sugar from Maa Store in the port city at Tk 64 after a long wait.

The retailer said he would sell the sugar at Tk 65 a kg, but many retailers were found selling the item at more than Tk 70.

Hajji Jamal, manager of a wholesale shop, Shafi Traders at Khatunganj, said the sugar he got from his importer BSM Group at Tk 63 last week was nearly finished.

The crisis hit the markets as there was no new supply from refiners, except City Group, he alleged.

A trader said the crisis would not have been created if an adequate amount of sugar had been imported ahead of the Ramadan.

He, however, said the crisis will end in a couple of weeks as three vessels of raw sugar are scheduled to arrive in 10 days.

According to the Chittagong Port Authority, three refiners imported around 1.05 lakh tonnes of raw sugar through the port in the first two weeks of July.

A vessel, Magnum Energy, arrived at the port at Kutubdia yesterday with 49,900 tonnes of raw sugar. Two more vessels -- Amna S and MV Jahan Moni will arrive at the port with 25,000 tonnes and 41,240 tonnes of raw sugar on August 5 and August 9 respectively, said a port official.

Source: The Daily Star