By: Umaisar Gull Ganie
Srinagar: At a time when the second wave of the COVID19 pandemic has been a constant source of anxiety in Kashmir valley, to make things worse, citizens are struggling by the high prices of edible oils.
The increased prices of oil have come amid movement restrictions announced by the government due to the surge in Coronavirus pandemic.
The news agency KNO received several complaints about a sudden rise in the edible oil prices from across the valley.
The prices of edible oils have risen by up to 35 percent in the last three months and the price of a 15 kg mustard oil has increased from around Rs 2000 to Rs 2700.
The popular mustard oil brands including Pir, P-Mark, and V-brand, which are widely used for cooking in Kashmir, are being sold around Rs 2700 per 15 kilograms. Similarly, the rates of refined oils like a 5-liter of Dhara have increased from Rs 600 to Rs 1000.
Mohammad Iqbal Samad, associate at Abdul Samad & Sons Batamaloo said that the rise of edible oils is from the last three months and is increasing gradually each passing day.
“The main reason behind the rise in prices of oils is because of the import hit in India caused by COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Samad said India is importing 70 percent of oils from foreign countries now and because of COVID-19 the import process is affected.
“This problem is not restricted to the Valley, the entire India faces it,” he said, adding that farmers’ protests in India have equally affected the oil prices.
Aaquib Nabi, who is residing in a rented accommodation at Khanyar Srinagar said “I had bought two litres of mustard oil in the first week of the previous month (April). It cost me Rs 120 for a litre of oil. On May 8, I was amazed to see that the shopkeeper charged Rs 180 for a litre.”
Director Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Kashmir, Abdul Samad Mir said that rates are not being fixed by them for edible oil and its MRP is fixed by the center.
“If anyone is found selling the same on higher rates strict action shall be taken against them,” he said.