Kolkata: Vendors sell vegetables at Kole Market without observing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic, in Kolkata on Monday, January 24, 2022. (Photo: IANS/Subir Haldar)
Guwahati/Agartala, October 8 (IANS) Rising source prices, transport bottlenecks and insufficient storage facilities are major causes of rising prices for vegetables and other staples in the mountainous northeastern states .
The capitals of the north eastern states via Guwahati are 1,000 km to 1,700 km from Kolkata by road and 2,000 km to 2,650 km from Delhi while the distance between the north eastern states and Kolkata via the Bangladesh is on average 600 km to 800 km.
There is only a narrow land corridor to the northeast region through Assam and West Bengal, but this route passes through hilly terrain with steep slopes and multiple hairpin bends, which makes the movement of vehicles, especially loaded trucks, very difficult and time consuming.
Of the eight northeastern states, the main city of Assam, Guwahati (neighboring capital of Dispur), Agartala, the capital of Tripura, and Naharlagun of Arunachal Pradesh (adjacent to the capital Itanagar) are now connected to the rail network.
The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) is currently laying new railway tracks to connect the capitals of three other northeastern states – Manipur, Mizoram and Nagaland.
Economists, experts, traders and administrators have identified rising source prices, transportation problems, inadequate storage facilities, heavy dependence for basic necessities on states from other regions of India as the main causes of rising prices of vegetables, fish and other necessities in the northeast. .
Sujit Roy, a member of the Indian Chamber of Commerce and the India-Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Tripura Chapter), said that if the prices of basic necessities and other goods increase at the source, it automatically hit the northeast.
“Transportation is a big problem in mountainous areas. However, with the gradual extension of the railway line, transport bottlenecks are gradually being eased in the region,” said Roy, who is also secretary. of the All Tripura Merchants Association, at IANS.
However, traders in Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland and Meghalaya have observed that as rail connectivity has not reached all state capitals and districts, transportation of basic necessities, fuel, vegetables and food grains depend entirely on roads, which is very problematic. , costly and time-consuming.
“During the four-month monsoon period (June to September), transportation of daily necessities, miscellaneous commodities and transportation fuel becomes a serious problem,” Tarunjit Singh, a trader based in at Imphal.
He said that adequate storage facilities with all the necessary provisions must be put in place in all northeastern states, especially in remote and remote places to cope with the shortage of essential commodities, food grains and of transport fuel as the situation requires.
Binoy Sangma, a retired government worker in Shillong, said the vicious circle of rising fuel prices is driving commodity prices higher.
Some vegetables that previously cost Rs 30 per kg, now cost Rs 120 per kg. The fruits, especially those from outside the northeast region, are reserved for the well-to-do as the poor can no longer afford to buy them, he added.
Sangma said it is clear that the central government is not a pro-poor government.
“The government is investing huge sums of public money in endless glamorous projects without caring about the economic situation of a large part of the population, who can no longer afford even two meals a day,” he said. -he declares.
Salim Shah, a professor at the University of Tripura (Central University), said the government’s assertions and the reality on the ground on the economy are starkly different.
“The data from the Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE) and the government claims and statistics have no similarity. So there is an economic crisis in the country and the government’s claim on the growth rate n is not correct,” he told IANS.
Shah said that by introducing GST on new items, the government collects funds from the people, placing an economic burden on the common man.
In August, India’s unemployment rate hit a one-year high of 8.3% as employment fell sequentially by 2 million to 394.6 million.
“The increase in the unemployment rate does not support the government’s claim regarding the growth rate. One can speak of jobless growth. While in other countries the prices of petrol and diesel are falling, those “These are constantly increasing in India. Rising transport fuel prices are causing a cumulative effect across all sectors,” the Economist said.
The Chairman of the Tripura Chambers of Commerce and Industry, ML Debnath said that while the essentials, various goods and machinery were transported from different parts of India to the hilly states in the north east using the ports and the surface roads of Bangladesh, it would save time and transport costs.
Bangladesh’s Chittagong International Seaport is 75 km south of Tripura and northeastern states can access the seaport for transporting many items, Debnath told IANS.