How Expensive did Guwahati get in 2018?
Prices of seven essential commodities go up this year
Prices of at least seven essential commodities in Guwahati showed an increasing trend in 2018 when compared to the previous year.
As per the data provided by the directorate of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs, tomato and onion saw the most drastic increase in their prices this year. The retail price of tomato more than trebled from Rs 18 per kilo on January 1, 2017 to Rs 55 per kilo in January, 2018.
The cost of onion more than doubled this year from Rs 18 per kilo in 2017 to Rs 48 this year. Further, other essential commodities which are proving to be costlier for the consumers this year as compared to the last year include sunflower oil, tea, jaggery, rice and wheat.
The price of tea rose by Rs 50, from Rs 150 per kilo to Rs 200 in 2018. Further, jaggery and wheat saw a slight rise of Rs 2 and Re 1 respectively. While jaggery was priced at Rs 45 per kilo in January 2017 and stood at Rs 47 this year, wheat was priced at Rs 25 in 2017 and costs Rs 26 now.
Similarly, the retail prices of sunflower oil and rice went up by Rs 15 per litre and Rs 4 per kilo respectively.
Authorities have attributed the rise in the costs to an increase in retail prices in other parts of the country from where commodities are brought into Guwahati.
“Since Assam is a deficit state and does not produce adequate amount of vegetables, it is dependent on other states to meet its requirements. A lot of factors determine the pricing of a commodity, the biggest of which is the production of a commodity in a particular year and also the transportation costs,” said Jyotish Das, an official at the directorate of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs.
He added that most of the vegetables like onion and tomato are brought to Guwahati from places like Patna, Nasik, Rajasthan and Indore.
However, officials have informed that the prices of onion and tomato have started to decline now.
Price of pulses and oils witness a decline
On the contrary, prices of five types of pulses have reduced from 2017. These include Urad Dal (black gram), Arhar Dal (red gram), Masoor Dal (red lentil), and gram pulses which saw a decline in 2018. These pulses saw a decline of Rs 50, 30, 15, 33 and 55 per kilo respectively.
Further, costs of vegetable oil and soya oil also went down by Rs 10 per litre each. At the beginning of 2017, the cost of vegetable oil was Rs 90 which came down to Rs 80 per litre in 2018, while the cost of soya oil became Rs 100 from Rs 110.
Officials say that food habits of the citizens also play a role in determining the prices of essential commodities.
“In winters, consumption of vegetables increases and that of pulses goes down as people usually prefer eating vegetables more during this time,” said an official.
Authorities at the directorate of food, civil supplies and consumer affairs informed that they have a mechanism to check prices of commodities if they increase considerably.
Apart from review meetings which are conducted every three months, the department also has area field officers who work in collaboration with the district administrations in every district. They verify the retail and wholesale prices of different commodities by checking and verifying the purchase memos from sellers.
“Enforcement activity increases when there is a steep rise in prices of certain essential commodities. The department does voluntary fixation of prices where the upper limit of the commodity’s price is fixed in presence of members of chamber of commerce, wholesalers, retailers and the district administration,” said an official of the department.
Under this, the price of a commodity is capped for a week or two in order to provide relief to the consumers.
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