Money

Prices of daily essentials soar on shortages created by Tarai banda

- SUMAN BASHYAL, KATHMANDU
The price of rahar pulse has soared to Rs220-Rs230 per kg from Rs190 last month. Mauro pulse has become dearer by Rs5 and now costs Rs165 per kg

Sep 5, 2015-Prices of daily essentials have soared in the Kathmandu Valley over the last one month due to shortages caused by an indefinite Tarai banda that has crippled transportation.

Retailers said that wholesalers had been hiking prices citing the shortage while wholesalers said that they were fast running out of stock and prices might shoot up if immediate measures were not taken.

The price of rahar pulse has soared to Rs220-Rs230 per kg from Rs190 last month. Mauro pulse has become dearer by Rs5 and now costs Rs165 per kg while black lentil costs Rs180 per kg, up Rs15. Likewise, Jeera Masino rice has gone up to Rs65 per kg from Rs60.

The price of onion has almost doubled to Rs120-Rs130 from Rs70-Rs80 in the retail market while the price of potato has surged to Rs33-Rs34 per kg from Rs27-Rs28 last month. Retailers said they suspected wholesalers of hoarding with the intention of jacking up prices further. “Over the last one month, wholesalers have hiked the price of rice by Rs100 to Rs150 per 25 kg sack and pulses by up to Rs30 per kg,” said Pabitra Man Bajrach-arya, president of the Retailers Association of Nepal.

“I think wholesalers are looking for an opportunity to raise prices.” He added that the government seemed to be favouring large wholesalers as its market monitoring teams had only been checking small retail shops and the warehouses of big traders alone.

The price of rahar pulse has jumped 64 percent over the past year in the domestic market. Rahar pulse cost Rs140 per kg in September last year.  

However, wholesalers said that shipments of daily essentials from India, the major source of food products for Nepal, had plunged 50 percent in recent days while most of the Tarai-based factories had been closed for the past three weeks. “This price rise is mainly the result of a short supply triggered by strikes in the Tarai. Prices are higher in the plains and the hills than in the Kathmandu Valley,” said Manish Kumar Agrawal, executive member of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).

“Our branches are running out of stock, and shipments from India are stranded at various customs points. So how can we supply goods to retailers?” said Kumud Dugar, managing director of the KL Dugar Group. Prices could go up further if the government does not settle the political issues soon, he added. Dugar deals in daily essentials like rice, pulses, oil and flour.  

Expressing similar sentiments, Dhiraj Golchha, director of Hulas Foods, said, “We are dispatching whatever food products we have in stock, but we are seeing a rise in demand due to panic buying triggered buy a fear of shortages during the festive season. Shipments have been disrupted for the past three weeks.”

Published: 05-09-2015 09:45

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