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Dimapur, March 26: Even as the Government of Nagaland continues to maintain that there is enough stock of rations to tide over the lockdown period, the measures adopted by the Government is indicating otherwise forcing people to resort to more panic buying of essential commodities.
On Wednesday the Government had curtailed the opening time of grocery shops from 8 am to 2 pm in Dimapur and in Kohima from 10 am to 2 pm reportedly “for more effective monitoring system.” In Kohima, the authorities has also notified a roster arrangement for petrol pumps to open in the city, limiting only two fuel outlets to open in a day, giving rise of fear that there might be shortage of fuel despite Government claiming otherwise.
This resulted in a spike in panic buying in Dimapur, while the notification also opened an opportunity for traders, allegedly wholesalers, to hike price of commodities.
On Thursday, prices of essential commodities saw a steep hike in Dimapur and retail dealers cited scarcity as well as price hike by wholesalers.
When Nagaland Page visited various markets in Dimapur today, most retailers claimed that that they are not hiking the price but the wholesalers.
“The wholesalers based in New Market are hiking prices of every items, basically groceries, which are regularly consumed such as rice, onion, potatoes, eggs, etc. We are purchasing from them and despite showing the bills, people don’t accept it”, claimed retailers dealing in grocery items. They claimed that they are often compelled to sell at the earlier rates furious customers suffering huge loses.
A vegetable vendor in New Market echoed the same sentiment, while revealing that he had purchased potatoes from the whole seller at Rs 22 per kg today and selling it at Rs 30 in the retail market.
A nearby vegetable vendor joining the discussion said onion at whole sale rate is Rs 3200 per bag but today he paid Rs 100 extra for an onion bag to the wholesalers.
“These wholesalers are big people, none touches them but officials come to check us. They never question the wholesalers,” he vented his anger, adding at the end of the day it is the retailers that face the ire of the public and authorities, not the wholesalers.
Egg retailers are also selling eggs per plate at Rs 170 in the New Market, up by Rs 20.
When Nagaland Page enquired on the price rise from an egg vendor, he abruptly said, “If you wish to buy please don’t argue. We are purchasing at Rs 160 per plate and so we are selling at Rs 170”.
Prices of vegetables and fruits also spiraled in New Market despite the Government’s repeated notifications on availability of essential items for more than 3 months.
A young Naga woman was heard screaming at a fruit stall owner for demanding extra Rs 50 on apples and grapes.
“Why are you charging R. 200 for one Kg Apple”, she screamed and was seen leaving without buying. (Page News Service)