Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, June 15:
Spiraling prices of food items in Odisha has burned holes in the pockets of consumers in the state.
While arhar (toor) dal is already selling at Rs 120 a kg, price of mustard oil too has soared to Rs 120 a litre. Garlic and ginger are selling at rates above Rs 100 a kg and onion at Rs 30 a kg.
However, the state government, its ministers and secretaries all seem to be oblivious to the development. Prices of essentials have soared at least 15% on an average within just a month. It seems there is no one in charge to rein in prices in the market.
Market watchers believe if things are allowed to go this way any longer, it is surely going to hurt all classes of people.
Prices of pulses and pulse products noticed a sudden spurt about a month back with arhar dal prices jumping from Rs 80 a kg to Rs 110 while that of black gram dal went up as high as Rs 120. Consumers were told the price rise was because production of pulses is low in the state requiring large scale imports from outside
Two weeks back, prices of potatoes and onion went up; while the price of potatoes went up by Rs 3 a kg, that of onion increased by Rs 15 a kg to touch Rs 30 a kg. The rise in prices of these two essential veggies was attributed to shortfall in their production.
The unbridled rise in prices of edible oils in tandem with that of pulses has hit hard the average Odia housewife’s kitchen taking the flavour away from the typical Odia dishes.
While mustard oil and refined oil of popular brands were selling at around Rs 90 and Rs 88 a litre respectively, their prices have now shot up to Rs 115 and Rs 135 respectively.
Not to be left behind in the race, ginger price has gone up to Rs 120 a kg and that of garlic to Rs 100.
The shooting up of prices in food items is more acute in rural areas with traders fleecing customers at their own sweet will.
Also prices of non-vegetarian food items have recorded a spurt. Rohu fish from Andhra Pradesh is selling at Rs 150 a kg against its previous price of Rs 120 a kg.Chicken, which normally sells rather cheap in the summer, is selling at prices above Rs 160 a kg. The Raja festivities have given another excuse to the traders to jack up prices of all non veg items, which have a great demand during this period.
Besides, vegetables too are selling at high prices this summer.
Shop keepers have cited shortfall in supplies as the principal reason behind the soaring prices while some have preferred to put the blame on rise in diesel prices leading to higher transportation cost of goods resulting in high price rise.
Market watchers blame the government’s apathy for the price rise. Since the government’s Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department has no control over the market, it’s the traders who are ruling the roost.