Guwahati, Saturday, January 8, 2011
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Bihu brings jitters too as bazar turns bizarre
Staff reporter
 GUWAHATI, Jan 7 – Some of the traditional Bihu delicacies would come at a dear price this year as the prevailing inflation has even caught the coconut market with the cost of a pair of coconut standing at Rs 60 as of date. For the preparation of several Bihu delicacies including the favourite pitha, coconut is a mandatory ingredient. But this time things look really bleak.

With not many days to go for the Magh Bihu, different varieties of local rice, flat rice, pulses etc, have flooded the market. But the prices of all these items have increased compared to last year. The traders have blamed the inflation and the government inaction in this matter for the situation.

Lalit Talukdar, who has a fruit stall at Chandmari and does business in traditional delicacies during the festive seasons, regretted that he is not in a position to sell pithas this year. “The price of a pair of coconut has soared so high that the Self Help Groups (SHG) that have been providing me with delicacies like pithas have not supplied the stock to me this year,” said Talukdar observing that celebration of the festivals like Bihu have become the prerogative of the affluent class only.

This year the Assamese community will have to purchase Ranga Bora Cheera at Rs 60 per kg, Joha Bora Cheera at Rs 60 per kg, Puffed rice at Rs 40 per kg, Joha rice at Rs 30 per kg, Bora rice at Rs 30 per kg, Black Gram at Rs 50 per kg and Sesame at Rs 60 per kg etc.

“The transportation cost has increased because of the hike in petrol and diesel prices,” said Talukdar giving the reason for the rise in the prices of all the essential items for celebrating Magh Bihu.

Another trader Bitupan Das criticized the government for its failure to bring inflation under control. He too has not been able to get his seasonal supply of Pithas from the SHGs and is not in a happy frame of mind. “Apart from business, selling traditional delicacies is also a very enjoyable experience for me. But not this time,” he said mentioning that the prices of coconuts is likely to increase in the coming days with demand surpassing the supply.

He said that ripe coconuts have become dearer as bulk of the production was sold as tender fruit during the summer season.

The common consumers should be mentally prepared before entering a market to avoid heartache.

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