GUWAHATI, June 6 - Due to alleged lack of a proper monitoring system and alleged negligence of the officials concerned, prices of vegetables and grocery items have been skyrocketing in the city.
Vegetable vendors here said that prices of all vegetables have increased by Rs 20-25 per kilogram in the wholesale market over the past two months. In the absence of a proper vigilance system, the vegetables are selling at double the price in the retail market.
�Prices of all vegetable items increased recently due to floods in the areas of production. Every year, such a situation occurs. Moreover, the fuel price hike has also had an impact on the price scene,� said Mohammad Murtaza, general secretary of the Guwahati Fruit and Vegetable Wholesaler Association.
In Guwahati, a major amount of the vegetable items is mainly imported from Kharupetia, Barpeta, Shillong and West Bengal. Murtaza said that farmers of both Kharupetia and Barpeta have increased the prices of vegetables. Accordingly, the rates have been hiked in the Guwahati markets.
�Though the prices in the wholesale market are under control, this is not the case in the retail market. The Government should have taken steps to arrest the unprecedented price rise, which happened in the matter of a couple of months,� he added.
Meanwhile, in the city, prices of grocery items have also increased in the past few days.
The general secretary of the wholesaler association alleged that all markets in Guwahati have been flooded with hybrid vegetables, which are a threat to health.
�Each and every vegetable is now available in all seasons of the year in the markets of Guwahati. It has become possible as the farmers of Kharupetia and Barpeta have also started cultivating hybrid varieties. Farmers usually increase prices of vegetables in summer to compensate the losses they suffer during the winter season,� Murtaza told The Assam Tribune.
Meanwhile, mushrooming of illegal markets has also become a growing issue of concern. This is also a violation of the Supreme Court order against the establishment of wholesale markets inside the city.
Murtaza alleged a nexus involving higher officials of the State Government behind setting up of such markets. For instance, some sections of traders sell vegetable items on the road near Fancy Bazar by claiming proximity to politicians.
�We have moved the police and the GMC against those traders on several occasions. But no action has ever been taken. Rather the GMC officials are seen collecting taxes from both legal and illegal business entities. According to information available with me, illegal markets are running in Beltola and Paltanbazar areas too. Some GMC officials profit from these markets by causing inconvenience to common people,� he said.
Murtaza asserted that the problem of price hike could be resolved if cold storages came up in the city.
Meanwhile, reacting to the current price hike, Kamrup Metro DC Biswajeet Pegu said, �We have formed a team to study the situation and will take action accordingly.�