With the inflation rate of the state reaching 3.8 percent in April – almost 1 percent higher than the all-India average of 2.9 percent as per recently released Consumer Price Index (CPI), Jammu and Kashmir has become one of the most expensive states in India to live.
The data is significant in view of the recent frequentclosure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway which has been triggering price hikeof essential commodities that has hit common people in the state.
The retail inflation across the country rose to 2.92 percentin April, mainly due to rise in food prices. According to the CPI data forApril released by Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation,J&K is among states where the inflation rate is on the higher side.
Interestingly, inflation in food articles hardened with asteep rise in prices of vegetables during March 2019. Vegetable inflation wasat 28.13 per cent in March, up from 6.82 per cent in the previous month.Inflation in food articles basket was 5.68 per cent during March.
As per local traders dealing with edibles such asvegetables, fruits, mutton and poultry, an acute shortage of supplies onregular basis is the reason for price hike of goods. President of ParimporaFruit Mandi Bashir Ahmad Basheer says prices of vegetables have been the "mostfluctuating" since this year's winter as compared to previous years.
"The government wants us to bring prices under check butsmooth delivery of supplies is all we are asking for," said Bashir. The tradersof edibles including vegetables and mutton met Governor's advisor Khurshid AGanai on Monday to discuss the recent price hike in essentials. Basheer who wasthe part of the meeting says apart from highway closure and recent twice-a-weekban on goods, a huge demand of supplies for marriages and now Ramadhan has alsoshot up prices.
Meanwhile, prices of mutton in the Valley have also beenwitnessing a sharp increase every time the road is closed due to inclementweather. The fluctuation in prices of mutton and its varying prices indifferent markets has forced the government to go for a price review of muttonsold in retail markets.
However, difference of opinion among mutton commissionagents who operate from outside mandis and the administration in the Valley isproving to be a matter of concern. "While the government wants the fixed pricefor mutton at Rs 440, the commission agents who supply it from outside mandiswant it at Rs 480 per kg," said Mehraj-u-din Ganai, general secretary of All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton DealersAssociation. "Now the issue has got to a level that commission agents arethreatening to suspend trade in various mandis in Punjab, Delhi, Rajashtan andother states. Kashmir which has been suffering from a major price hike of meatsince last several months might have to face an acute shortage if the imbrogliobetween the commission agents and authorities does not come to an end," Ganaihad said.