| People purchase vegetables at a market leading to price rise of essential commodities in view of the cyclone threat. Picture by Ashwinee Pati |
Bhubaneswar, Oct. 10: The cyclone alert has escalated prices of essential commodities at city markets.
As memories of the 1999 super cyclone haunt residents, they have started stocking food items. This has pushed up potato prices by Rs 6 a kg at Unit-I market, where it is now selling for Rs 18 a kg. At other markets, potatoes are being sold for Rs 24 per kg.
Moreover, stuffs such as flattened rice (chuda), gudda (molasses), flour (atta), candle and matches have been vanished from markets as people have purchased these fearing severity of the storm.
However an official of the state food supply and consumer welfare department said they would ensure that the essential items remained available in abundance to meet the need, which might arise during the cyclone-hitting period. “We have also kept stocks of chuda, rice, candle and matches at several stock points in the city. We have instructed the dealers of these items to keep stock of such essential products and not to create any artificial shortage in the market,” he said.
But, the panic-buying has already created a shortage of the products in the market.
Chuda, which is an essential food item during disaster periods in the state, has gone vanished at the city shops. “Yesterday, I sold a few kilograms of chuda. As I am running short of this item, I sent my men to the Unit-I wholesale market to buy around 20kg of flattened rice. But, traders there said they, too, were short of this stuff,” said Amarseh Sahu, a grocer at Kharavela Nagar.
A supply official said chuda became scarce in the market as it could not be produced more due to prolonged rain for the past few days. “But, we have kept stock of around 300 quintal chuda and molasses at stock points at Unit-I, Unit-IV, Aiginia and other places in the city. Besides, we have asked the mills to keep the stock of chuda. Wholesale dealers of candle and matches have also been asked to keep these things in abundance. We are in constant touch with them to keep the products in abundance,” he said.
He said they had also instructed the rice mills and wholesalers to keep rice in stock and sell them to meet the demands. “If we get to know that any artificial shortage has been created, we will raid the shops,” he said.
A shopkeeper said those, who used to purchase 2kg of potato for two to three days, were now buying at least 10kg at a time. Some retailers on the city outskirts are also trying to take advantage of the situation. “We do not want to create any panic or create a situation for hoarding. But, excess purchase by the panic-stricken people may lead to a shortage,” said president of the Rajadhani Haata Byabasayi Mahasangha Gayadhar Swian.
Sources said the scarcity of potato there was a delay in potato supply. At least 14 trucks of potato will arrive in the city this evening and few more tomorrow. However, onion import from Karnataka through Andhra Pradesh has received a jolt due to the formation of Telangana.