Srinagar: Sharp increase in the price of essential commodities has hit the common man in the Kashmir valley.
Though prices of almost every edible commodity ranging from fruits to cooking gas have shot up considerably, prices of construction materials too have increased manifold.
“Till the beginning of last year, I would buy edible oil for around Rs. 500 per five-liter but now the same has gone above Rs. 1000. Besides edible items, the price of cement, bricks, etc too has shot up. A quintal of iron would cost Rs. 4300 two years ago and now it costs Rs. 8000. Similarly, costs of commodities have almost doubled during the past couple of years,” said Irfan Lone, a local.
Traders say price rise was a global phenomenon and the Covid lockdown was among the leading causes.
“Factories remained shut for months and owners suffered massive losses. Now, they are making up for the losses through a sharp increase in prices. On top of that cost of petrol and diesel too has increased considerably. Once fuel prices go up, everything becomes expensive,” said Kashmir Trade Alliance (KTA) president Aijaz Shahdhar.
“Last week, domestic cooking gas (LPG) price was hiked by Rs 50 per cylinder in line with a spike in international energy prices, and the price of 19 kg commercial LPG increased by Rs 250 per cylinder. An increase of Rs. 250 per cylinder refill is sharp and he will have a bearing on restaurants and eateries as their expenditure will increase and eventually lead to an increase in food items they serve,” he added.
At the same time, people are also complaining about an increase in daily essentials like vegetables, fruits, and chicken.
“You will find shops selling bananas for Rs. 100 to 120 a dozen and lemon for Rs. 200 a kilo in Rawalpora. Oranges too sell for up to Rs. 200 a dozen and there is a huge rush of people buying the same. Meat is either hard to find and nobody sells it for the government fixed rate of Rs. 535 a kilo. Chicken prices too touch Rs. 170 or 180 at times,” said Parvez, a resident of uptown Rawalpora.
Business bodies like the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Kashmir (CCIK) have also issued appeals to the administration to check soaring prices.
In a statement, president CCIK Tariq Rashid Ghani urged the administration to keep a check on profiteering in the Valley markets besides regulating the traffic during evening rush hours.
An official said the public should call the toll-free number: 18001807011 in case they came across cases of profiteering while adding that they were undertaking continuous market checking to curb profiteering and hoarding by traders and shopkeepers.