Pandemic and price rise a double edged sword for the public, Congress accuse Modi government of aiding the situation
Last two months have seen sky-rocketing of retail price of essential vegetables. The recent surge of tomato, potato and onion prices, the staple of Indian household are proving to be a massive whammy in festive season, especially when family earnings have been disturbed due to pandemic.
Congress accused Narendra Modi government on Sunday of aiding the current situation by letting vegetable stocks rot, thereby resulting in artificial rise in prices. The major opposition party noted that Consumer Food Price Index has been consistently on a rise for last couple of months. The situation has been similar in both rural and urban regions.
A recent survey conducted by LocalCircles shows that 71% citizens say that they are now paying over INR 50 for tomato, INR 50 for onion and INR 40 for potato, per kg. The same entity had conducted a similar survey on September 11, 2020 which showed 61% of families share of paying over INR 60 for tomato, INR 25 for onion and INR 30 for potato, per kg.
The survey hence delivers the findings that average retail price per kg for potato has risen by 30% and by 100% for onion. In contrast, tomato prices have dropped by 15% in one month.
Congress spokesperson Gaurav Vallabh said during a press conference in Delhi, “As if the common man was not suffering enough through job losses, income uncertainty, the government has been ignorant and blatantly incompetent in controlling inflation.”
Mr. Vallabh accused the government of taking advantage of people of India and extracting as much possible from them, instead of figuring out ways to extend support to people.
For July and August, the Consumer Food Price Index or CFPI has hiked over 9% and has crossed 10% mark for September. Inflation rates of vegetables have reached 22.71% in September and for pulses 13.69%.
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Congress also has questioned government’s act of exporting 1.23 lakh tonnes of potatoes to various nations like Saudi Arabia during 2019-20 while the citizens are facing a supply shortage.
Mr. Vallabh said, “There are 30 lakh tonnes of potatoes lying in cold storages across Uttar Pradesh, out of which 22 lakh tonnes was meant for the markets. The government is now forcing the farmers to take out these stocks by 31st October, instead of 30th November. On the one hand the government has been crying out loud that farmers will now be able to sell their produce anywhere, anytime on the other hand forcing farmers to take potatoes out of cold storage and sell their produce.”
Mr. Vallabh also said that the steps by government indicate an attempt to aid and support big companies. He said that the Centre must opt a strict stance against blackmarketers and push the excess stock lying in cold storage into market to control prices.