Srinagar, Mar 30: Amid the fear of a lockdown in view of rising coronavirus cases, prices of number of essential commodities are soaring across Kashmir valley.
Though the administration provided a channel for delivery of commodities to people, residents complained of low availability of food items and a steep rise in prices of commodities. Prices of vegetables like cauliflower, cabbage, ladyfinger, beans, brinjal, capsicum, carrot, beet and others become more than double when compared to the previous weekend.
Reports reaching from different markets of valley said prices of commodities like potato, onion are being sold at rupees 50-100 Rs/- per kg.
A couple of weeks ago such items were being sold in the markets at almost half the rate, the reports said.
The prices of other vegetables like tomato, peas, radish, pumpkin, cabbage are also skyrocketing. There are also reports of panicked storage of such items from the markets.
Nazir Ahmad, who runs a merchandise store in south Kashmir had visited a vegetable seller on Sunday. “The vegetables are being sold to people at very high prices. Carrot used to be priced at Rs 25 per kg and tomato at Rs 30 per kg until last week. On Sunday, it touched Rs 100 per kg. Potatoes cost Rs 60 per kg. There is also a shortage of pulses, bread and flour,” he says.
At different vegetable store in Kashmir, less people are gathering to stock up on vegetables. People could be seen stocking tomatoes in bulk. “It’s very essential in dishes and stays in the fridge for a few weeks,” said a homemaker, when asked about stocking up on a large number of tomatoes.
Speaking to KNT , the owner of the merchandise store, Manzoor Ahmad Baba said, “Transport vehicles which get the stock to the market have stopped operating. What we are presently selling is our existing stock. If this runs out, no fresh stock is coming and that is the fear.”
The price of fruits have also skyrocketed: oranges are being sold for Rs 150 per kg while bananas and pomegranates are sold for Rs 130-150 per kg.
Another elderly man Abdul Rashid from Bemina Srinagar complained, “There are many daily wagers in the area and others who do not have enough supplies. They are suffering due to scarce supply of groceries. The district administration should monitor the situation in our area on its own.”
Several social media users complained about price hike, seeking action against retailers who were selling commodities for exorbitant prices.
The spiraling prices are reported even when the government has been reiterating that the availability of essential commodities would be ensured and that inflation would be controlled.
On the other hand, supply of fruit and vegetables have started falling sharply because transportation hurdles and labour scarcity in the wake of the COVID-19 scare have derailed operations, prompting many traders to stop operations.
Meanwhile, many of the sellers with vegetable stocks in their vehicles made it to the residential areas and made them available to the residents who had not been venturing near markets fearing police action. It facilitated many and senior citizens in particular who had been facing hardships in getting vegetables.
Pertiently, India’s top health research body ICMR had mentioned earlier that “There is no community transmission of COVID-19, occurring in the country as yet.”
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached more than 1000 in India on Sunday, Union Health Ministry said