From Sudip Sharma Chowdhury
Guwahathi: The recent rise in prices of vegetables and edible oils has hit consumers hard. The Coronavirus outbreak and subsequent lockdown had already destroyed the economy and now this current inflation of food items in and around Guwahati has put a burden on citizens and their already stressed people. Interestingly, the massive increase in prices has come after the government’s decision to withdraw the lockdown to return to normalcy.Meanwhile, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal today called an urgent meeting with representatives of traders’ bodies and different department officials to discuss issues related to the price rise of essential commodities at Assam Administrative Staff College.
The Chief Minister took stock of the price rise situation from the members of Assam Chambers of Commerce, Kamrup Chambers of Commerce and other traders’ bodies and asked for suggestions to control the spiralling prices of essential items. Saying that the increasing prices of potato, onion, vegetables, eggs, cooking oils etc have impacted the common people adversely and caused strong resentment among them, Sonowal said that the government cannot remain inactive in this situation as the people must be given respite from this scourge of price rise at any cost.
He also referred to the disparity in prices of items like potato, onion and vegetables in wholesale and retail markets and warned those traders engaged in abnormal price hike of essentials of strict action. He also said that integrated dedicated teams would be set up by the administration in the state to monitor the markets and keep a tab on the price rise of the essential items. He also stressed on the need to take joint responsibility by government and business community to check price hike and said that a solution must be found to serve the interest of both sellers and buyers.
He also directed Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury to hold another meeting tomorrow with those representatives of shopping malls and members of business community absent today. He instructed the supply department to generate awareness among the public about the right retail prices of vegetables by informing them about prices at source. The members of traders’ bodies informed the Chief Minister that some items like potato, onion have seen price hike at their source and said that from Thursday onwards, wholesale prices would come down slightly.
They also urged the Chief Minister to take action against the unauthorised wholesale markets which have sprung up in different parts of the city. Food and Cvil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury, Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, Media Adviser to the Chief Minister Hrishikesh Goswami, Legal Adviser to the Chief Minister Santanu Bharali, Chief Secretary Jishnu Barua, Additional Chief Secretary to the Chief Minister Paban Borthakur, Special Commissioner to Chief Minister Ranjan Chakraborty along with several top officials of police, Kamrup Metro district administration, food and civil supplies department were present in the meeting.