GUWAHATI, May 27 – Accusing the government machinery of total inaction, public activist Prof Deven Dutta today questioned why the common people should be made to bear the burden of abnormal price rise caused by unbridled collection of “goonda tax by the thriving racket of middlemen, besides the so-called youth brigades of political parties, especially the ruling ones, and police.”
In a statement, Prof Dutta said that it was an open secret why prices of foodstuff, particularly vegetables, shot up abnormally once those were out of the producing area and reached the towns and the city.
“The same vegetables that are sold at Re 1 to Rs 2 a kg at places like Hojai, Lanka, Dhing, Moirabari, Goalpara, Krishnai, Dudhnoi, Khowang, Demow, Dalgaon, Kharupetia, Khairabari, Howli and Barpeta Road invariably fetch a price of Rs 25-30-40 in major towns and the city. The reasons for this huge disparity are largely attributable to – apart from the inertia of the Government and lack of cold storages – the working of the middlemen, and the so-called youth brigades of political parties and the police,” Prof Dutta said.
Prof Dutta added that thriving syndicates controlled by such people were triggering an unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities and effectively putting the burden on the common people.
Prof Dutta said that the Government would do well to keep its eyes open to the rampant illegalities being perpetrated in diverse sectors across the State.
“The Government which has perfected the art of asking for proof against every anomaly and malpractice being perpetrated in the open should keep its eyes open for the illegal brick kilns, stone quarries, sand mines, saw mills, carrying of illegally-cut earth from hills in dilapidated trucks driving in break-neck speed, coal syndicates that have been operating with impunity under the very nose of the administration and the police,” he said.