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Low inflation? Prices double in Assam

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 Aug 2015 12:00 AM GMT

Truckers setting exorbitant fares after forking out goonda taxes at check-gates

WHOLESALE PRICES PER KG

Item June 2014 August 2015

GRAM DAL - Rs 39 Rs 62

ARAHAR DAL - Rs 67 Rs 130

MASUR DAL - Rs 68 Rs 105

MOONG DAL - Rs 95 Rs 104

GRAM WHOLE - Rs 39 Rs 68

ATTA - Rs 10 Rs 23

ONION - Rs 21 Rs 55

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Aug 29: Prices of a number of essential commodities have doubled in a year, with the common man sharply feeling the pinch. This despite inflation being at a record low in July this year.

Prices of all edible pulses have increased considerably over the last one year. While the wholesale price of Arhar dal was Rs 67 per kg in June, 2014, it has increased to Rs 93-130 in August this year, according to the State's Food and Civil Supplies department.

Similarly, prices of Gram dal increased from Rs 39 to Rs 62 in the wholesale market.

Masur dal surged from Rs 68 to Rs 105, while Gram (whole) increased from Rs 39 to Rs 68.

Onions continued to make consumers' tears flow copiously, with the prices hovering around Rs 70 in the retail market as on Saturday.

Traders have been blaming supply side shortage for the skyrocketing prices, but sources have not ruled out the possibility of hoarding by unscrupulous businessmen.

Though the Kamrup district administration has formed teams to regulate the prices and keep them under control, the harried consumer is yet to see any results.

Industry sources said the cost of transportation of onions from shik-Rajastha-Bangalore to Guwahati comes to around Rs 7/8 per kg and from Pat Rs 4/5. Labour costs (loading and unloading) comes to around Rs 1 per kg, while the traders suffer losses (waste) of 4 to 5 kgs in every quintal.

Truck drivers also include the money paid in toll gates, as 'goonda' tax to syndicates etc in the transportation cost. While many truckers refuse to ply to Assam due to the "harassment" they face on the highways, those who do ply manipulate the fare as they wish. Earlier, the trucks used to ferry coal in their return journey, but after the tiol Green Tribul's ban on rat hole mining in Meghalaya, most trucks have to return empty.

The Central government has sought to clarify that it is taking measures to curb prices by putting limits on onion stocks that can be held at any given time, and hiking up the minimum price at which onions can be exported to increase supply in the domestic market. The government added that the price rise was due to the fall in production in the year 2014-'15.

But traders here feel that the onion prices may even touch the century-mark in the next few weeks. They see no relief till the next harvest in November-December.

According to a study, onion farmers in the country suffer a 30 per cent post-harvest loss due to lack of storage facilities.

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