As costs rise, tiffin centres hike prices, serve less food

In effect, bearing the burden is the common man, students and guest workers

Hyderabad: The abnormal increase in the price of basic commodities, especially commercial LPG, which now costs Rs 2,095 per cylinder, vegetables and cooking oils is having a cascading effect on the rates at tiffin centres and those selling breakfast items on pushcarts and bicycles.

In effect, bearing the burden is the common man, students and guest workers.

Unable to cope with the constant increase in the prices of their ingredients, most of them had increased the rates of their offerings — idli, vada, dosa, Mysore bajji and puri — in January from Rs 25 to Rs 30 per plate. Some of them made do by reducing the quantity of food. They are now set to further hike the prices next month.

Swadesh Tiffin Centre at Mayur Complex, Abids, which used to sell any breakfast item at Rs 25 per plate is now charging Rs 30. Its owner Sunil Hachchand said, “The lockdown had hit us terribly. There has been a gradual decline in customers. Most of our customers are students and those who have come from other states for jobs and competitive exams. All ingredients have become costlier.”

Sambasiva Rao of Geeta Tiffins at Marredpally said, “We have increased the prices between 15 and 20 per cent in January because we were unable to break even. Now a litre of palm oil is `152 and price of wheat flour has also shot up. It is becoming increasingly tougher to run the show.”

Parmesh Sandepaga, who manages a few tiffin centres in the city, said, “Inflation was there even before the lockdown. After that the overheads have gone up. We were forced to pay electricity bills even though we did not use electrical appliances during lockdown, and rents had to be paid despite the outlets being closed.”

He added, “Apart from the constant rise in prices of commodities, we are subject to higher wage demands by workers, and transport has become costlier while the prices of disposables have doubled. The customers question us and some have stopped coming. Life has become difficult.”

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