Prices of essentials skyrocket after floods

Rice sold at Rs 3000 per quintal, tomatoes at Rs 45 per kg; CA&PD department sleeps

While people in Kashmir are yet to come out of the trauma of the flood fury, the prices of essential commodities including vegetables and rice have skyrocketed across Kashmir, with ‘unscrupulous elements and black-marketers’ having a field day. The state administration, particularly the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution department, is looking the other way to this grave concern.

A market survey by Greater Kashmir revealed that the price of vegetables and rice has increased manifold after the devastating floods hit Kashmir on September 7.
People from various localities, including the flood-hit ones, complained there is acute shortage of rice as the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) department has failed to ensure the adequate supply to its ration ‘ghats’.
The rice which is a staple food in the Valley is being sold at Rs 2800 to 3000 per quintal. Prior to floods, it was being sold at Rs 2300 to 2500 per quintal. Similarly, the price of vegetables has also witnessed a surge.
At Qamarwari market here, which was badly hit by the floods, onions were Thursday sold at Rs 45 per kg. The price of onions before the flood was Rs 25 per kg.
Similarly, potatoes were sold at Rs 20 per kg in the first week of September and are now being priced at Rs 40 per kg in different markets in the summer capital.
A vegetable dealer at Kaka Sarai here said the price of Spinach is Rs 30 per kg at the moment. “Earlier it was priced in the range of Rs 10 to Rs 15 per kg,” he said.
On Thursday, tomatoes at Parimpora Market were sold at Rs 45 per kg while its price, prior to the floods, was Rs 25 per kg.
“Beans were earlier priced at Rs 20 per kg while these are now priced at Rs 30 per kg.  Cauliflowers are being sold at Rs 40 a kg against an earlier price of Rs 25 per kg,” said Ghulam Qadir, a buyer.
The arbitrary hike in the prices of essentials has hit put an extra burden on the pocket of the aam aadmi at a time when people are grappling with the devastation around.
“The shopkeepers are taking advantage of the situation; they know that rice and vegetables are a must items for Kashmiris. Knowing that people have run out of supplies, they have increased the prices of essentials to further aggravate our people,” said Seftain Ahmad, a resident of Soura.
However, the vegetable dealers pass the buck on outside Kashmir dealers for increasing the prices.
A wholesale rice dealer at Parimpora, Ali Muhammad, said: “Few days back we were getting supply of ‘Apple’ brand rice for Rs 2500 per quintal. It is now being sold by Jammu-based dealers at Rs 2800 per quintal. They are taking undue advantage of the situation,” he said.
Similarly, vegetable dealers said the devastating flood has damaged “our local production and we are now dependent on the outside states for supplies.” “It is the outside players who fix the prices,” they said.
People across Kashmir are angry over the state government’s failure to ensure supply of ration at the Ration Depots despite the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announcing that free ration would be provided to the flood-affected people.
The residents of PC Depot and Qamarwari Thursday held a protest demonstration against the government for its alleged failed to provide ration supply in these areas which were hit by the floods.
When contacted, Director CA&PD, Bilal Ahmad said that state government has issued procurement order for fresh supplies as per the 2011 census and “we have ordered extra 30 percent ration for the flood-affected areas.”
“I will ensure that within next few days we have adequate supplies of ration. Earlier we were getting supply as per the 2001 census. Now I have procurement orders of ration as per the revised ration ticket holders and the extra 30 percent also. The supply will reach Kashmir next week following which there would be no shortage,” he said.
Ahmad said the CA&PD department has distributed ration which was stored in its godowns.  “
He said market inspection would be conducted to check the prices of essentials.

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