Guwahati, Sunday, June 30, 2013
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Abnormal rise in prices of foodstuff hits citizens
 GUWAHATI, June 29 – The city markets are witnessing an abnormal rise in the prices of foodstuff, including chicken, fish, egg and onion, with little meaningful intervention coming from the administration and the Government.

It has also been alleged by diverse circles, including sections of traders, that the syndicates had started dictating the markets again after a brief lull following the Government’s recent crackdown which proved to be short-lived.

At the Six Mile market, local chickens are being sold at Rs 260-280 a kg, compared to Rs 220 less than a month back. Broiler (undressed) is fetching a price of Rs 160 per kg while the dressed variety is being sold at Rs 240-250 a kg. Earlier, undressed and dressed broiler was sold at Rs 110 and Rs 180 respectively.

The wholesale price of broiler has also shot up to Rs 132 a kg from the earlier rate of Rs 95.

Local Rohu fish is being sold in the range of Rs 400-600, while the bigger ones are fetching a price of Rs 600-850. Earlier, the Rohu was sold at Rs 180-200 and Rs 400-500 (bigger ones). Local Bhokua is being sold at Rs 360-600 compared to the earlier price of Rs 180-200. The salani (imported) Bhokua is fetching a price of Rs 200-300 as against the earlier price of Rs 150-160.

Magur and Mali fish are being sold at Rs 750 and Rs 500 respectively, as against their earlier price of Rs 600 and Rs 300 respectively. Local prawn is fetching a price of Rs 600 per kg compared to Rs 500 earlier.

Raja Ali, a fish-seller, attributed the high price to a hike at the Paltan Bazaar wholesale market. Salani fish which cost Rs 80-90 a kg is now costing Rs 140-145 a kg.

Onions, too, have experienced a sudden steep rise in price, with a whole-seller at Beltola selling it at Rs 28 a kg today.

The rates of chicken and fish were more or less similar at the Ganeshguri market. Saiful, a chicken-seller at Ganeshguri, said that reduced supply from Chhaygaon, Boko and Barpeta due to the prevailing hot weather conditions was pushing the prices up. He also felt that the matter could be aggravated by the involvement of racketeers.

“I am now buying broiler (undressed) at the wholesale rate of Rs 135, while the dressed is costing Rs 220 – which is much higher than the prices earlier,” he added.

Broilers (dressed) are selling at Rs 240 per kg at Supermarket while the undressed variety is available at Rs 140 per kg. In Hatigaon also, the prices are similar to those at Supermarket.

At Uzanbazar, however, prices are more with the dressed broiler being sold at as high as Rs 260 per kg. In contrast at all the markets across Guwahati the local variety of chicken is available at Rs 280 per kg.

According to sources in the market, the recent high temperature at many parts around the Brahmaputra Valley resulted in massive loss among broiler farmers with chicken falling prey to the heat and humidity. “It will take at least two to three weeks before prices stabilise in the market with advent of the new birds,” a retailer in the Hatigaon locality said.

Sajjad Hussain, a vendor selling eggs said that a seven plates of egg (30 eggs per plate) now cost Rs 820 as against Rs 500-750 earlier.

According to Guddu, a chicken seller, the high prices had affected the sale of chickens. “I used to sell about 20 kg chicken a day but now I am selling about half of that,” he said. The market monitoring cell formed by the Kamrup Metro district administration has started ground level monitoring and visits to various marketplaces around the city since Thursday with a view to keep tab on prices.

While the district administration has started a monitoring exercise to check abnormal price rise of meat, fish, eggs and vegetables, the exercise is apparently not yielding much result.

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