GUWAHATI, Jan 12 � Notwitstanding rampant inflation and slowdown in the economy, people of the State are gearing up for celebrating the Bhogali Bihu, the festival of feast and opulence, from tomorrow, which is also the Uruka day.
Most of the markets in the capital city are abuzz with customers.
Even when people were today seen making a beeline for shops selling mutton, chicken and other non-vegetarian items and vegetables, taking advantage of the weekend holiday, shops selling �branded� pithas and other items traditionally associated with the festival were also doing brisk business.
While prices are already skyrocketing, traders said they will head even more northwards tomorrow as shoppers head for the last minute purchases.
At many of the major markets across Guwahati like Six Mile, Super Market, Beltola, Ganeshguri, Silpukhuri, Machkhowa, Chandmari and Uzan Bazaar, the effect of the festive period seem to have been imprinted on the retail prices.
This afternoon, Chital fish was fetching as much as Rs 650-800, while while rou and bahu (bhokua) were sold at Rs 350-400 in different markets. Local chicken and broiler chicken were being sold at Rs 260 and 110-120 a kg, respectively.
Ducks fetched around Rs 450-500 per head depending on sizes, while mutton was being sold at minimum of Rs 400.
�For a government employee like me, occasions like the Uruka feast have become a luxury. Inflation has reduced the common man�s purchasing power and I am forced to cut down my expenditure. So this Uruka, I have decided to opt for only fish or meat and not both,� Manoranjan Talukdar, State Secretariat employee, said.
Not only non-vegetarian items, but even the prices of other commodities are spiralling. Bihu is incomplete without til (sesame seeds), an item which was being sold in Guwahati markets at around Rs 140-150 a kg. Jaggery or gur was selling at the rate of Rs 40-80 per kg, depending on variety.
The rate of coconut, essential ingredient of larus and pithas, has shot up to Rs 80 a pair at many places.
�Price rise has spoiled the Bihu spirit. This is one festival which was celebrated by the people belonging to all communities and ethnic groups of the State but for the common man it has now become very difficult to make a wholesome Bihu feast,� said Haidor Hussain Bora, resident of Beltola and a senior political activist.
The price of chira (flattened rice) was around Rs 40-50, whereas good quality bora rice is being sold at the price of around Rs 40 per kg. While branded pitha packets are available for Rs 40, those made locally are also in the range of Rs 20-30. �Tomorrow morning the prices of most items will rise even more and if you visit tomorrow afternoon, I can assure you that the prices of many commodities will be double of what they are today,� said a fish seller at Uzan Bazaar.