Soaring market prices : Low-income people bearing the brunt

Kathmandu, July 19:

With market prices spiralling out, low-income families are finding it difficult to eke out a living.

Due to the lack of a control mechanism, prices of foodstuffs are increasing at an alarming rate.

In the last six months, price of a 30-kg bag of Mansuli rice has gone up to Rs 880 from

Rs 740. The price of 20 kg-bag of Basmati rice has risen to Rs 1,400 from Rs 1,200. Per litre price of soya bean oil has jumped to Rs 140 from Rs 110, while the price per litre of mustard oil has climbed to Rs 150 from the earlier price of Rs 120.

Binita Ghimire sells roasted maize at Old Bus Park in Kathmandu. Though the Ghimire family toils from dawn to dusk, the income is not enough to make a decent living.

“With Rs 100, we used to manage square meals in the past. Now, the money is just enough for one meal,” Ghimire, who is living in a rented room in Khasibazaar with her husband and son, said.

She earns Rs 100 to Rs 150 a day. Her husband Sambhu, who works in a sweet shop at the bus-park, earns Rs 3,500 a month.

“Though we have been compromising on the quality of food, we have been finding it difficult to earn a livelihood,” she added.

Hoping for a better life, Mahindra Ram, 64, came here from Bara 10 years ago.

Ram, a cobbler by profession, works in the pavement of Bagbazaar. He and his four cobbler friends live in a rented room in Bagbazaar.

“We eat to sustain ourselves, not to savour the taste. We haven’t eaten meat for months,” he added. He said that he had stopped using vehicles to travel short distances so as to save some money for his family.

“Prices of foodstuffs have gone up, but our service charges haven’t. No one will come to mend shoes if we increase our service charges. Instead of mending old shoes, people will buy shoes,” Ram said.