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Rise in grocery prices stretch family budgets
- Prices have gone up by `30-50 on various commodities
- Onions crossed `100 mark a kg in Rythu Bazars and even touching `125 a kg in retail market
- Poor and middle-class already forgone major part of their monthly incomes due to Covid lockdowns
Tirupati: For the past few months poor and middle-class sections have been caught between a rock and hard place, owing to the skyrocketing prices of groceries and essential commodities. The family budgets have tumbled during the Covid-19 pandemic and the rising prices have only added to their woes, who were caught in a double whammy.
The prices of groceries have risen on average by Rs 30-50 a kg on various commodities. Sunflower oil which was sold at Rs 96 in August is now Rs 120. Red gram dal is now being sold between Rs 125-130 depending on quality which was below Rs 100 in August. Pepper prices have gone up to Rs 450 a kg now from Rs 400 in August.
Even without buying dals and oils, poor people can adjust with buttermilk and onions. But making the situation even more soar to them, the prices of onions are going upwards with no downward trend visible soon. Now, onion prices have crossed Rs 100 a kg in Rythu Bazars and are being sold at even higher prices up to Rs 125 in retail markets.
Though the government is selling onions at subsidised prices at Rs 40 a kg in Rythu bazars, people were very much disappointed at the rotten onions which they get only one kilo per person after waiting for more than an hour in the queue line. Moreover, the stocks were already sold out. They are not available for people in other places where Rythu Bazars are not there.
Except tomatoes which are priced at Rs 25-30 a kg no other vegetable is available below Rs 50. The poor and middle-class families have been finding it extremely difficult to make their both ends meet. Already, they lost the major part of their monthly incomes as a result of Covid lockdowns and not getting their full salaries even now.
On the other hand, several families were infected by the coronavirus which forced them to spend extra amounts on taking nutritious food during post-Covid care. At this juncture, the rising prices were only making their lives bitter.
The owner of 'Buy n Save' supermarket in the city, Madhu opined that due to dip in purchasing power of consumers, retail sales came down by almost 40 per cent following which wholesalers and dealers were not keeping stocks. This leads to supply shortages forcing prices to go up.
The increasing reliance on online purchases of groceries also resulted in reduction of sales in local markets which in turn hitting the wholesalers. The factors like heavy rains in Maharashtra, poor yield of crops this season and new crops are expected only in January also contribute their might to the increasing prices in our state.