Non-intervention by govt leads to second milk price hike within 1 year
It’s that time of the year again when the state government finds itself in the dock over skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. While the state government has been invariably blaming the “price rise at source,” observers point to Dispur’s failure to curb price rise with effective measures and over-dependence on market mechanisms. While price of several commodities have skyrocketed, the price of one of the major commodity, i.e. milk, has been increased for the second time within a span of less than a year. Even after a month of price hike in the wholesale market, the price till date keeps fluctuating from Rs 2 to Rs 3 per litre.
Meanwhile, the Greater Guwahati Go Palak Santha, the leading union of dairy farmers in the city, alleged that it is the lack of intervention by the government to control the price of fodder for the cattle. “It is unfortunate that the people have to suffer through the price rise in milk amidst the soaring prices of other commodities. We are also among the commoners and similarly we have families to feed. We have discussed with the milk suppliers for the hike in price and it has come to light that the expenses of fodder for the cattle have drastically increased due to which the decision of raising the price by Rs 3 was taken,” said Indra Bhandari, Chief Adviser, Greater Guwahati Go Palak Santha.
“The price of the fodder for the cattle is unregulated and the government has no intervention in the set-up. The fodder sellers have a monopoly among them and increase the prices according to their will. It comes as a shock that the fodder dealers do not maintain a price list and neither is it intervened by the government. Thus, being left with no other option we had to hike the price by Rs 3 per litre this time. However, if the government regulates the price the fodder we can reduce the price by up to Rs 5,” Bhandari informed.
It was also informed that the price hike in the later part of 2015 took place due to the rise in the cost of medicines for the cattle. Following the hike, the suppliers restrained from buying milk from dairy farmers resulting in heavy losses and wastage of lakhs of litres of milk.
Simultaneously, consumers are worried as with the increased price of milk, the price of sweets and other milk products will also start skyrocketing. “The price of milk is increasing but we are not getting quality milk. If we have to pay Rs 52 to Rs 54 per litre of milk we will have to give a second thought being a middle class family. With the increasing price, the price of sweets will also be increased. The government and the concerned department should take the matter seriously and come up with steps to regulate the price so that it can be affordable for all classes of people. As milk is necessary for children all the people need to buy milk but at such a high price it will be difficult for us to continue buying,” said Pallavi Das, a resident of Ulubari.
Another resident of the city, Priyanka Saikia echoed similar views saying, “The hike is going to make milk dearer for the common people. The government should intervene as the dairy farmers are increasing the prices at their own will. No one knows if the production cost has really gone up to the extent they claim.”
A 500kg HF/Jersey cow yielding 20 litres of milk per day will require around 20 kgs of green fodder (may be maize fodder), 2 kgs of dry fodder, 9 kgs of cattle feed (BIS type I) and 150 gms of mineral mixture.
15 teams to monitor price rise in Assam
To control skyrocketing of prices of food items Kamrup Metropolitan Authority on Monday formed 15 flying teams to monitor the rates in the state capital.
“Prices of essential food items are under control and are on a declining trend. Compared to May-June, the prices have fallen by 3-5 per cent,” Kamrup Metropolitan Deputy Commissioner M Angamuthu told reporters here. The teams were formed to bring down the prices further and control the market, he said.
Each team comprises of one magistrate, an inspector of the food and civil supplies department and persons from Guwahati Municipal Corporation. “We will file FIRs against unscrupulous retailers and wholesellers, cancel their trading licences and seal the shops. We will not tolerate any manipulation with the prices,” Angamuthu said. Wholesale prices of food items have to follow government rates, he said adding that all approved traders have to display it in their shops.
Angamuthu said that there is absolutely no shortage of items in the market. On rising cases of dengue in Kamrup Metropolitan district, he said altogether 437 cases of Type-I dengue have been detected so far.
“The Type-I is non-fatal, while the Type-II is fatal. We have not detected any Type-II dengue case yet and there is no death till now,” Angamuthu said.
The wholesale rate of milk was increased by Rs 3 in August
Following the price hike the retail rate of milk has increased from Rs 50 to Rs 53 per litre
The fodder for cattle costs around Rs 20 to Rs 25 per kilogram which is an unregulated price
The leading union of dairy farmers allege that it is due to unregulated price of fodder that causes price hike in milk
The price was last hiked by Rs. 1.50 per litre in November 2015
Following the then price hike the wholesale rate of milk was Rs 42.50 which was sold in retail market at Rs 47 to Rs 50