Traders hike prices of essentials as fuel crisis deepens

Hetauda, November 3

Makawanpur Chamber of Commerce and Industry has hiked the prices of daily commodities at a time when Tihar and Chhath festivals are just around the corner.

The decision to this effect was made by the chamber’s food price determination committee amid shortage of daily essentials, including petroleum products, due to the ongoing Madhes agitation and border blockade.

“As Tihar and Chhath are fast approaching, the price hike is sure add worries to people already burdened with shortage of essential commodities,” said a local customer, adding, “Price of cooking oil has been increased up to 45 per cent.”

The traders, however, blamed transport operators and manufacturers, saying the latter had hiked the prices due to hike in transport fares as a result of fuel shortage.

Transportation entrepreneurs, however, refuted the charge. “As everyone is aware of the ongoing fuel shortage, it’s true that we have hiked transport fares by 5 per cent. However, this in no way justifies the traders’ decision to hike the prices of daily commodities by up to 40/50 per cent,” argued Badri Prasad Chaulagain, chairperson of Narayani Transportation Entrepreneurs Association.

While customers accused the traders of taking advantage of the situation, Consumer Welfare Protection Forum Chairperson Ajaya Adhikari said he was unaware of the price hike. He, however, pledged to raise voice if traders were found inflating the prices of essentials.

Prices of goods that have less demand during Tihar have either remained constant or decreased. Earlier during Dashain, traders had hiked prices of goods that are highly in demand during the festival, leaving the price level of other goods constant or low.

Meanwhile, various student unions and consumer forum in the district are preparing to take to the streets against the price hike.