Meghalaya: Rising Extortion Leads to Increase in Basic Goods Prices, Sparks Controversy
Ardent M Basaiawmoit, the Chief of the Voice of People's Party has raised the alarm about the impact of extortion on the cost of essential goods.
SHILLONG: In a very concerning development, extortion appears to be driving up the cost of essential goods in Meghalaya, sparking a heated debate between political figures. Ardent M Basaiawmoit, Chief of the Voice of People's Party (VPP) and a respected MLA representing Nongkrem, has called for immediate and decisive action against what he perceives as a surge in extortion activities affecting the state's economy.
Basaiawmoit has passionately urged authorities to take stringent measures against extortionists, arguing that their criminal activities force local business owners to raise the prices of fundamental commodities. These price hikes are seen as a desperate effort by businesses to recoup the losses incurred due to extortion demands.
However, the Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs Minister, Comingone Ymbon, has strongly refuted these claims. Minister Ymbon contends that the rise in prices of essential goods is not exclusive to Meghalaya but is a nationwide issue impacting all of India. He pointed to several contributing factors, including inadequate food production, escalating fuel costs, the influence of climate change on agricultural output, and insufficient rainfall affecting crop yields.
Furthermore, Ymbon emphasized the active role played by the district vigilance committee in monitoring price fluctuations. The department is closely tracking key markets such as Iewduh, Laitumkhrah, and Rynjah using a GPS-enabled mobile application. In addition, districts and sub-divisions have been directed to conduct regular raids and inspections to combat hoarding and black marketing, he informed.
In a bid to further deter illegal activities, the department is focusing on increasing the prosecution and conviction rates of offenders. This multifaceted approach aims to address the complex issue of rising prices while maintaining a vigilant stance against illegal practices.
The ongoing debate underscores the urgency of addressing the forces driving up the prices of essential goods in Meghalaya. As residents grapple with the financial challenges arising from these price increases, the government's response and its efforts to maintain economic stability will remain under close scrutiny by both citizens and stakeholders.