Srinagar, Aug 10: As Kashmir’s economy is yet to recuperate from the losses incurred during Covid lockdown, the rising fuel prices has added to the woes of the people here.
The petroleum prices in Kashmir are at its highest, petrol is being sold at Rs 104.7 per litre and diesel is priced at Rs 94 a litre.
Rising prices of fuel is burning a hole in consumer’s pockets, with voices going shriller demanding the government’s intervention to lower its tax rate on petroleum.
With a steep hike in fuel prices since January 2021, many people now prefer to keep their vehicles at home and use public transport facilities for commuting, while transporters are also demanding a revision of their fares citing the ever rising fuel bills.
“Rising fuel prices have broken the back of people particularly those belonging to the middle income group. I have stopped taking my car to my workplace due to higher petrol prices, despite the fact I have to face a lot of hardships due to this decision but there is no other way. Otherwise half my monthly earnings were getting exhausted on paying petrol bills,” said Ajaz Ahmad, a businessman.
The rising fuel prices has a far reaching impact on the overall business environment in Kashmir too, as it leads to an increase in transportation cost of goods being imported or exported from Kashmir.
“It has a far reaching impact on the society as well as the business community. Our transportation cost has increased manifold in the last few months, with it our profit margin has shrunk, and goods and services have become costlier. That is one of the main reasons why our inflation rate is higher than the rest of the country. To add to it, most of our supplies come from outside J&K through Srinagar- Jammu National Highway which is known for its condition,” said President Kashmir Retailers Association, Farhan Kitab.
The transporters in Kashmir too are seeking revision of passenger fares.
“Passenger bus fares were fixed when the diesel price was below 80, now it has gone up, we want government to revise it so that we could also earn some profit otherwise our vehicles are running on losses,” said Muhammad ismail, a transporter.
The impact of high fuel prices is not just limited to vehicle owners; people who do not own a vehicle or even a business that requires the use of petrol and diesel are affected by rising fuel prices.
Fuel prices have a cascading effect on the value of many other commodities, including essential items like food, medicines and other FMCG goods. Simply put, an increase in fuel rates triggers a sharp rise in inflation and prices of several other essential goods and services go up as a result.
While vehicle owners have been forced to reduce their fuel consumption, people from poorer sections of society are finding it hard to even buy daily groceries — all because of higher fuel prices.