Mobile courts have fined 383 fertiliser dealers and retailers a total of Tk57,68,000 across the country for unlawfully hoarding and selling fertiliser at higher prices, informed Agriculture Minister Dr Mohammad Abdur Razzaque.
The traders created a shortage of fertiliser in the market by unlawfully hoarding it. In addition to the fine, the licences of the dealers involved in various irregularities and market manipulation will be revoked, the minister said after a meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Pham Viet Chien, at the secretariat on Tuesday afternoon.
The Ministry of Industries authorised the licences and sending their names to the ministry for license cancellation is in progress, he added.
"We have enough fertilisers in stock for meeting demand until December this year. At the same time, the government has also allocated more subsidised fertiliser this year than last year," Dr Abdur Razzaque said.
"Still, a shortage of fertiliser appeared in some places which doesn't seem right," he commented.
Besides penalising and revoking licences of dealers and retailers, field administrative officials will also be brought under penalty if found guilty of negligence, the minister assured.
As of 30 August, 1.8 lakh tonnes of muriate of potash (MOP) fertiliser have been imported by the government and the private sector. At least 1.16 lakh tonnes more will be imported by September.
There is a demand for 51,000 tonnes of MOP fertiliser in September and 70,000 tonnes in October.
"As such, the supply of fertiliser will exceed demand," the minister said.
Regarding the soaring prices of staple grains, the Agriculture minister said the price of rice will drop soon as the country is going to import 200,000 tonnes of parboiled rice and 30,000 tonnes of white rice from Vietnam. It may take 15-20 days to receive the consignments.