Rising price of daily essentials hits life

- THAKUR SINGH THARU, Banke

Dec 28, 2015-

The life in the district has taken a hit as the prices of daily essentials have rocketed in the last five months.

The price of rice, pulses and edible oil have increased exponentially during the review period. While the price of pulses has gone up by 50 percent, rice has become dearer by 16 percent.

Maas (black pulse), which was selling for Rs150 a kg until August, now costs Rs225. The cost of Rahar has also increased by more than three fold to Rs343 per kg.

The cost of mustard oil has hit Rs240 per litre, up from Rs200, while the price of Mota rice has increased to Rs45 per kg from the previous Rs37.

The surge in prices of essentials has been attributed to the ongoing Tarai unrest and unofficial blockade imposed by India. Although the movement of goods through the Nepalgunj border has eased in the last three weeks, it has failed to bring down the retail prices of essentials. Traders claim the prices have shot up due to an increase in cost in the Indian market.

A recent study also suggests that the market price has surged due to the Indian trade embargo on Nepal. Ramu Joshi, an official at the Rural Reconstruction Nepal, a non-government organisation working on food rights issues, said prices of rice, pulses and cooking oil had increased the most. “The direct impact of the price hike is apparent in the people’s daily life,” he said. 

Consumers, however, blame the weak market monitoring and lack of penalty to the wrongdoers for the price hike. 

Bed Prakash Lekhak, chief district officer of Banke, conceded that the absence of chief at the district commerce office for the last one year had made the market monitoring ineffective. But he maintained that they were carrying out regular market inspection. Meanwhile, the district--considered to be the food bank--is now completely dependant on the imported food items. According to the District Agriculture Office, cultivation is done only in 52,838 hectares (29 percent) out of the total 56,257 hectares of arable land in the district. 

Nepal imported 27,215 tonnes of rice worth Rs1.12 billion from India through the Nepalgunj border last year, the statistics at Nepalgunj Customs Office show. Nepal imported 1,300 tonnes of paddy worth Rs47.8 million and 62.6 tonnes of wheat worth Rs1.57 million through the border point in the fiscal year 2014-15.

As well as 9,582 tonnes of mustard worth Rs808 million, Nepal also imported 43.5 tonnes of pulses valued at Rs3.56 million through the customs point last year. 

Escalating Prices 

Essentials     Mid July-mid Aug        Mid Nov-mid Dec

Maas        Rs150/kg            Rs225/kg

Rahar        Rs200/kg            Rs343/kg

Mota Rice        Rs37/kg            Rs45/kg

Mustard Oil    Rs200/litre        Rs240/litre

Published: 28-12-2015 09:32

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