Hyderabad: Skyrocketing prices of essential commodities like pulses, oils and vegetables are turning even a simple meal into a luxury for the common man.
Pulses have become the dearest commodity with the price of red gram (toor dal) doubling in the last one year in Telangana State and Andhra Pradesh.
While the retail price as per the government stands at Rs 162 at present, depending on where one buys, they can be as much as Rs 180-190.
Bengal gram (chana dal) is nearly 60 per cent costlier compared to last year in TS.
In January 2014, a kg of black gram (urad dal) cost Rs 68-70. This is one of the main ingredients in dosa, vada and idly. On Thursday, the retail price of a kilo of black gram was Rs 158.
However, it is not just the pulses that have become dearer. Even spices, vegetables and oils too have become precious.
Grocery shop owners and wholesalers said that apart from reasons like reduction in overall production of these essentials, the increase in transportation costs and bifurcation of state too has added to the price hike. Pulses and spices are mostly imported from neighboring states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and AP.
“Andhra Pradesh is now a neighboring state for us and we have to pay Central Sales Tax. Obviously, the traders and shopkeepers won’t take the brunt on themselves,” said Hyderabad Kirana Merchants’ Association convener Jeevan Lal Bhati.
The consumers meanwhile say they have no option but to reduce consumption of pulses.
“From three kg of toor dal a month, we have cut down to two kg. It can’t be cut down further, so in the event of a further price hike, we will have to cut down on other commodities,” said Naresh Kumar, a private employee.
With Dussehra and Diwali around the corner, the prices might rise further as pulses are the main ingredients of many sweets and other delicacies prepared for the festivals.
Importing not a remedy: Experts
A recent report from the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham) claimed that the Centre may have to import “over 10 million tonnes (MMT) of pulses since the domestic production may be limited to 17 million tonnes against the rising demand of 27 million tonnes.”