Silchar: As the festive days of Durga Puja approach fast, the prices of essential commodities continue to soar without any mandatory monitoring by the regulatory authorities concerned.
This has hit hard the consumers who are virtually perplexed to understand how best to adjust their budget for the season. It is the season to worship Goddess Durga and at the same time make the best of it with a sense of spiritual dedication and celebration.
The middle class consumers, to be precise, are worst hit. On the one hand, they have to take care of the family members by providing them the latest and trendy dresses. On the other hand, they have to manage the monthly usual expenses on varieties of goods and commodities. A cross section of consumers on encounter said how the prices of fish and the vegetables are escalating without any break. There is none to regulate the unscrupulous businessmen. The price of a kg of tengra has gone up to Rs.1200, of pabada to Rs.1000 and the price of Kanpur hilsa varies from Rs.600 to Rs.700, common bous to Rs.400 to Rs.500.
Prices of vegetables show no sign of respite despite autumn being a ‘season of mellow fruitfulness and nature’s bounty’. Cauliflower is priced at Rs.100 a kg, lady’s finger at Rs.60, ridge gourd (jhinga) at Rs.60, brinjal at Rs.50 and cabbage at Rs.40. It is beyond the purchasing power of common people to buy fish or vegetables of their choice to add to the merry mood of the greatest Hindu festival. A round around the market of this town shows how many customers simply stand and gaze while others with high budget have their fill of choice.
It is now a common talk that a syndicate has taken firm footing and regulates the prices of both fish and vegetables. The syndicate is so strong that even the administrative machinery responsible for controlling the prices fail to rein it. A few persons forming the syndicate are making fast buck at the cost of the most vulnerable sections of consumers. About one and half year ago, the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal, made the important declaration that the officials of civil supply department and the deputy commissioner of each district would make weekly visit of the markets to ensure that prices of commodities of everyday use are kept under control.
It was also announced by the Chief Minister’s office that a weekly report on the market prices has to be submitted to it by the authorities concerned of each district. But, as the situation stands, no district is now sincere or serious about submission of the report and that gives a long rope to the dishonest businessmen to walk free. The Grahak Suraksha Samiti (GSS) is of the opinion that if the district administration remains indifferent and inactive, nothing can keep the blackmarketers and hoarders under check and the syndicate will rule the roost. This is all the more important during this festive season of Durga Puja.