The mood in the entire state is not upbeat and many are foregoing the New Year celebrations.
Despite this, people in the city came out in droves to shop for a feast on the New Year’s Eve and the sellers, taking advantage of the rush, hiked up prices of most items on the must-have list of revellers.
Prices of fish and meat went up steeply at most markets here. Kachari Bazaar in Uzan Bazar was no exception and shoppers were heard complaining about “cut-throats” and “pirates” in the guise of vendors.
A survey of the markets proved the shoppers right as even the price of chicken was higher than usual. The broiler variety was selling for Rs 120 to Rs 130 per kg, up from the usual Rs 100 to Rs 110 while the local chicken price was set at Rs 400, an increase of around Rs 40. Rohu of the imported kind was being sold for Rs 150 per kg while the local variety cost Rs 400, although its origin was dubious. Bhokua was priced at Rs 250 for the outstation variety and Rs 500 for the local one. Even the smaller fish was on sale for a hefty Rs 200.
The more tasty and in-demand varieties of sital and borali were priced at Rs 700 and Rs 600 per kg respectively, an increase of Rs 200 and Rs 100 from the usual rates.
The much-in-demand duck meat was being sold for Rs 500 for a whole bird and Rs 600 per kg for the cut meat. The price of mutton has also gone up to Rs 600 per kg, from the usual Rs 500, while pork was priced at Rs 300 per kg, an increase of around Rs 20.
A pair of coconuts was being charged Rs 100 while onion prices shot up to Rs 150.
Even curd and cream prices have gone up by Rs 20 to Rs 40, with curd selling for Rs 80 per kg and Rs 50 for an earthen jar of 500gm. Cream was priced at Rs 200 per kg.
“People will eat and make merry for at least a night and the sellers are out to make a quick buck. One cannot blame them as business has been bad recently with the protests and curfew,” a customer said.
Crestfallen traders: The CAA-effect is telling on fish, mutton and chicken vendors at Doomdooma in Tinsukia district too.
“The sale of mutton is down. Procuring goats is also very difficult as people want to keep their goats and hens for emergency, in the event of a bandh or curfew because of protests over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Offer of higher prices is also not working,” Shamim, a mutton-seller, said. “Previously, during New Year, despite easy availability of chicken and mutton, there was a 20 to 30 per cent rise in the rates. This used to be a busy time of the year and we had good earnings. But the CAA cloud has dampened business,” he added.
This time, prices are stable, there are no temporary shops selling fish and meat and traders are crestfallen.
At present, mutton is being sold at Rs 550 per kg, fish at Rs 200-300 per kg, local chicken at Rs 300 per kg and broiler at Rs 200 per kg.
Picnic groups take mutton and chicken in large quantities on their way to Sadiya, Dhola, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Dilli Ghat, Digboi, Margherita and other picnic spots.
“No one is going for picnic here this time. Earlier, we would hear the sound of music and watch picnickers dance in open vehicles. But this time people are in no mood to celebrate because of CAA. They are worried about their future. The picnic spots bear a deserted look,” a local resident said.
Additional reporting by Manoj Kumar Ojha in Doomdomma