VIJAYAWADA: At a time when people are facing a hard time due to the ongoing lockdown, soaring prices of essential commodities have doubled their woes. People are forced to purchase commodities at whatever prices fixed by the retailers who are charging anything between Rs 10 and Rs 20 in excess of the MRP on everything in the city markets. The authorities, however, claim they are keeping a strict vigil to prevent profiteering by the traders and cases have been filed against a few of them for violating the norms.
Consumers also say the prices of tobacco products, especially cigarettes, increased by Rs 55 on each pack during the lockdown period. Earlier, a cigarette pack was sold at Rs 165 and now, it is being sold at Rs 220 or even Rs 250. Traders maintain that dwindling supplies are forcing them to sell the stocks at exorbitant rates. Over the years, the retail traders in the city have been procuring stocks of essential commodities from the wholesale market at Gollapudi.
However, with the district administration imposing restrictions on operating business between 6 am and 9 am, the traders are unable to get the stocks from the wholesale market due to lack of transportation and manpower. “Be it wheat flour, pulses such as red gram, black gram and green gram, the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities has increased my monthly budget by over 40 per cent when compared to the previous months,” a private employee Ch Mamatha said. For instance, the going rate of wheat flour is Rs 50 per kg now compared to Rs 35 in the first week of March. If the same continues for the next couple of weeks, the common man will be worst-affected, she said.
“Steps should be taken by the authorities concerned to bring down the prices of the essential commodities in the interest of the common man,” she demanded. A professor K Bhaskar Tataji said, “In March, I purchased commodities from a retailer in my locality and my grocery bill was around Rs 5,500. But, this month, for the same list of groceries, the trader informed that prices of various commodities had increased by Rs 10 to Rs 20 per kg and the bill was around Rs 7,000,” he said. A retailer K Srinivasa Rao told TNIE that Nagpur variety toor dal costs Rs 100 per kg, which was around Rs 80 prior to the lockdown period. Bombay rava was Rs 40 per kg, while it is now Rs 60 per kg, the price of green gram has reached Rs 120 per kg from Rs 90. A 30 kg rice bag of fine quality, which was around Rs 1,050 is now being sold at Rs 1,150.
“We are forced to supply commodities with a price hike as suppliers have increased their rates because of shortage of essential commodities in the wholesale market. We are supplying commodities to regular customers without much hike and explaining the situation to them,” he added. Revenue wing of the Vijayawada Municipal Corporation officials told TNIE that around 15 grocery stores were sealed across the city for MRP violation by traders. They claimed action will be taken against traders if consumers lodge a complaint.
Vijayawada: After receiving several complaints from denizens over MRP violations by the traders, legal metrology department deputy controller VV Nagaraja Rao conducted a surprise check at Spencer’s Hypermarket near Ring Road on Tuesday. He asked people to dial tollfree number: 18004254202 to file compliants related to MRP violations. Nagaraja Rao said a case has been registered against the hypermarket for not displaying the price list of essential commodities outside their store.
“Special teams have been carrying out surprise checks at grocery stores, hypermarkets, rythu bazars and medical shops. In all, the officials have registered 102 cases in Krishna district and 1,532 cases across the State,” he said. ‘’There is no scarcity of essential commodities in the State. A few traders are stocking up the commodities illegally and selling them at exorbitant prices to retailers to earn profit during the crisis,” he said
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