The rising fuel prices are among the factors contributing to higher cost of the essential commodities.
The price of petrol has crossed Rs 100 per litre across the country. The diesel prices are also very high.
While crude prices have increased significantly over the last one year, domestic taxes, especially the ones imposed by the centre and local governments, are also to blame. Union excise duties and local tax contributed to a substantial amount per litre respectively.
While crude prices have risen significantly, it had lead to a sharp spike in prices, pushing inflation and economic distress.
Without any doubt, these have been very difficult times for the majority of the people because of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the economy. A large number of people in the informal sectors have either lost their jobs or their livelihood has been severely impacted as businesses struggle to cope with the effects of the ongoing health crisis.
Even though there has been a reduction in the number of covid-19 cases just recently, the situation continues to be one to be wary of. In this situation, some unscrupulous people also are taking undue advantage of the situation. At a time when people are facing hard times due to the mounting covid-19 cases, skyrocketing prices of essential commodities have doubled their woes. People are forced to purchase commodities at whatever prices are fixed by the retailers. Fruits and vegetables continue to be sold at exorbitant prices with hardly any takers for the notified rate list by the government.
Complaints galore across the Valley that people are forced to purchase commodities at prices fixed by the retailers. Not only vegetables and fruits, edible oil prices have virtually gone through the roof with some brands being sold more than 30 percent more than they used to be not so long ago. Mutton is sold for Rs 65 more than the government fixed rate.
It is here that the administration should come forward and streamline the markets especially in controlling factors that are also associated with malpractices by some unscrupulous people. The administration needs to face local challenges with a lot more authority than it is showing or lacking presently.
While high petroleum prices are squeezing household budgets, the centre and local governments should also consider cutting taxes on petrol-diesel to bring down prices of the most commodities linked to it directly.
Unless the governments bring down taxes, there will be even higher retail prices, surging inflation and greater economic hardship for the people.