Pandemic scare: Prices of commodities hit the roof

Pandemic scare: Prices of commodities hit the roof

Balwant Garg

Tribune News Service

Faridkot, March 25

The Covid-19 pandemic scare, which continues to slow down the global economy, has led to a rise in the prices of sugar, pulses and edible oil in the last three days in this area.

While the rates of edible oils are witnessing an increase of Rs 2 to Rs 3 per kg in the wholesale market, those of pulses have soared by Rs 10 to Rs 12 per kg. Sugar prices have also increased by Rs 90 to Rs 100 per quintal here.

The prices have started soaring due to delayed deliveries from the mills to the wholesalers. As the movement of transporting vehicles have curtailed on roads following the lockdown and curfew, the millers have increased the prices of their products in view of the restricted imports. The increase in the transportation rates is another reason for soaring prices.

The steep rise in pulses prices is being attributed to the closure of the Delhi market, which is among major wholesale suppliers of pulses in Punjab and Haryana.

Last week, the ex-mill prices of sugar were in the declining trend as the lifting of sugar was hit with the government putting restrictions on the social gatherings, including marriage parties, and the millers were under pressure to sell their March month quota by March 31.

But after the Union Government extended the deadline for mills to sell their March quota till April 15, there was a rise of Rs 50 per quintal in the rates of sugar at the end of millers. Other than the rise by the millers, Rs 40 to Rs 50 per quintal increase in the sugar rates was due to the shortage of trucks which were to deliver the orders.

A week after panic buying of essential grocery items, followed by days of lockdown and curfew restrictions, there is a sharp surge in demand for grocery items in the market. On Wednesday, when the district administration allowed the grocery shops to deliver these essential items at the doorstep of the consumers, the latter have to cough out increased prices.

The Faridkot district administration on Wednesday roped in shopkeepers to provide grocery and medicines to people through home delivery.

After a meeting with the stockists and retailers, the Food Supply Department and the district administration released the list of the groceries and medical shops with their contact numbers, asking the people to place their orders on these contact numbers to get the supply of necessary items. Other than these shopkeepers, the district administration has provided passes to the vegetable and fruit vendors so that they could sell these items at the doorstep of the consumers.

The Deputy Commissioner has directed all owners of cold stores in the district to keep their stores opened till April 10 so that the farmers do not face any difficulty in storing their potato yield. It is has been directed to the cold store owners to ensure that no more than 10 labourers are engaged for unloading and storage of potatoes and every person in these stores needs to maintain a distance of 1.5 m from each other. The farmers have been exempted from the curfew for the transportation of their potato yield to these stores.

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