Silchar, June 6: The abnormal rise in the prices of essential commodities has come to hit the life of common people. For the poor and downtrodden, the basic question before them is of survival. Not only the prices of vegetables but also of fish and meat have shown upswing trend and there is no change in the trend. A survey of the main markets of this town by the consumer body, Grahak Suraksha Samiti (GSS), shows the prices of pointed-gourd (patal), ridge-gourd (jhinga), ladies finger (dhesesh), tomato and potato as well as other vegetables are rising abnormally.
Pointed-gourd sells at Rs.60 per kg, ridge-gourd at Rs.60 per kg, ladies finger and tomato at Rs.40 per kg while potato at Rs.25 per kg. Fish is becoming dearer to the people of this Barak Valley, Bengal carp (katla) is priced at Rs.500 to Rs.600 per kg, hilsa at Rs.700 to Rs.800, small sized catfish at Rs.200 to Rs.250 while the bigger sized catfish sells at Rs.400. The same is the story with non vegetable items like chicken and meat. Boiler chicken has touched Rs.170 to Rs.190 per kg while mutton is dearer by Rs.600 to Rs.700 per kg.
Those traders who deal in vegetables have not to be worried about GST. Another factor telling heavily upon the production of vegetables is the shrinking agricultural and cultivable land. Moreover, the sources from where the vegetables are supplied to the markets of this valley are also reporting about the loss of standing crops due to floods in the rural areas. But, what is of serious concern is the active role of a syndicate which controls the prices of agrarian products like vegetables. There is no standing law from the side of the administration to regulate the prices of essential commodities including vegetables in the open market, pointed out Biplob Kumar Goswami, general secretary of GSS.
If the state or the district administration is serious enough to regulate the prices, it will have to strictly enforce the existing rules and regulations and break the backbone of the syndicate. Apart from that, consumers in general will also have to unite and raise their voice against the spiralling prices. Unless pressure is mounted on the administration, nothing tangible will emerge. In other words, as Goswami has said, both the administration and the consumers will have to work in tandem to curb or bring down the prices.
Goswami regrets that at the district level meetings organized by the administration to discuss and deliberate over the issue of price rise and other related matter, his organization is not taken into confidence or invited to participate. It might be due to the fact that GSS has been very much vocal in raising its voice against some official of food and civil supply department for his questionable role in regulating the prices. GSS, Goswami claims, has always been active to uphold the interest of the consumers and neutralize the evil design of profiteers and black marketers and it will continue to carry on its cudgel against them.