Pokhara, November 17
Struggling with acute shortage of fuel and cooking gas, Kaski folks have been hit hard by skyrocketing prices of daily essentials.
Excessive price hike of daily essentials, including pulse,, cooking oil, fruits and rice has dealt a severe blow.
Jyoti Pariyar, who has been living in a rented apartment at Nayabazaar in Pokhara, complained that soaring prices of daily essentials had made her livelihood very hard. “We have been dealing with shortage of fuel and cooking gas for a long time.
The sharp increase in the price of essentials has made life even harder,” Pariyar said, adding, “I am thinking of going back to the village,” She complained that she was feeding her three-member family with her monthly income of Rs 16,000. “But, I have to borrow money to support my family as expenditure has gone up due to price hike,” Pariyar said.
Mustard oil costs Rs 240 per litre, up from Rs 160. Similarly, sunflower oil is being sold at Rs 260 per litre as opposed to Rs 125 per litre before the blockade. Sital Enterprises Proprietor Rajendra Gupta of Naya Sadak said the price not only of cooking oil but also of pulses had increased by Rs 100. Black pulses is being sold at Rs 240 per kg compared to Rs 170 in the past.
Similarly, traders have hiked the price of rice citing hike in transportation fare. Taxis and buses too are fleecing passengers citing the fuel shortage.
Issuing a press statement, Prithvi Highway Bus Operators’ Committee said it had increased the fare by 30 per cent for buses operating by it.
Consumers’ Forum Kaski Chairman Kapil Koirala said that price hike had been excessive for cooking oil and pulses. Koirala said the price might have been hiked in cahoots with the government and traders. “To print the price with more than 100 per cent hike is nothing but black-marketing”, Koirala said.
He asked the government to curb the flourishing black-marketing.
Food Inspector Shivji Baral at Food Technology and Quality Control Pokhara Office said that everyone had increased the price of essentials. Baral pledged to punish traders if they were found guilty.
Black marketing of cooking gas, petrol and diesel has been rampant in Pokhara and other areas of the district. Petrol is being sold at Rs 400 per litre, while one cylinder of LPG costs Rs 8,000.
The shortage of cooking gas has forced hoteliers to cook with firewood, while some hotels have pulled down their shutters for want of cooking gas.
A version of this article appears in print on November 18, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.