J&K among costliest states to live as April inflation touches 3.8%

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 frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway which has been triggering price hike of essential commodities that has hit common people in the state.

The retail inflation across the country rose to 2.92 percent in April, mainly due to rise in food prices. According to the CPI data for April 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 a steep rise in prices of vegetables during March 2019. Vegetable inflation was at 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 as vegetables, fruits, mutton and poultry, an acute shortage of supplies on regular basis is the reason for price hike of goods. President of Parimpora Fruit Mandi Bashir Ahmad Basheer says prices of vegetables have been the “most fluctuating” since this year’s winter as compared to previous years.

“The government wants us to bring prices under check but smooth delivery of supplies is all we are asking for,” said Bashir. The traders of edibles including vegetables and mutton met Governor’s advisor Khurshid A Ganai on Monday to discuss the recent price hike in essentials. Basheer who was the part of the meeting says apart from highway closure and recent twice-a-week ban on goods, a huge demand of supplies for marriages and now Ramadhan has also shot up prices.

Meanwhile, prices of mutton in the Valley have also been witnessing a sharp increase every time the road is closed due to inclement weather. The fluctuation in prices of mutton and its varying prices in different markets has forced the government to go for a price review of mutton sold in retail markets.

However, difference of opinion among mutton commission agents who operate from outside mandis and the administration in the Valley is proving to be a matter of concern. “While the government wants the fixed price for mutton at Rs 440, the commission agents who supply it from outside mandis want it at Rs 480 per kg,” said Mehraj-u-din Ganai, general secretary of  All Kashmir Wholesale Mutton Dealers Association. “Now the issue has got to a level that commission agents are threatening to suspend trade in various mandis in Punjab, Delhi, Rajashtan and other states. Kashmir which has been suffering from a major price hike of meat since last several months might have to face an acute shortage if the imbroglio between the commission agents and authorities does not come to an end,” Ganai had said.