IMPHAL, October 6: The grievances faced by the people due to the price hike in the state during the economic blockade imposed along the national highways of the state have lessen to quite an extent, stated CAF&PD minister N Biren today.
Speaking to mediaperons on the sidelines of a surprise inspection of wholesale dealers in the Khwairamband bazaar area this morning, he stated that prices of essential commodities have come down tremendously even though it is yet to reach the pre-blockade rate.
Elaborating further on the issue, the minister stated that this has been made possible by the initiatives of the government in using NH 37 (53) as an alternative to NH 2 (39) in the transportation of essential commodities including petroleum products since the imposition of the blockade along the highways.
He further mentioned that the frequency of goods carriers making trips under tight security provisions along NH 37 (53) have also increased during the blockade.
The minister alongwith officials of the department concerned and representatives of the Bazar business community visited numerous shops and wholesalers in the Khwairamband bazaar area and inspected the shops.
The team further checked if the shops are displaying their respective price list in front of their shops as was advised by the government in recent times.
Meanwhile, according to the various price list as displayed by the wholesalers in front of their shops, a kg of potato cost Rs.15-16 while a kg of onions cost Rs.25.
The team further found out that prices of pulses of all kinds have even gone down by Rs.10 from the recent government revised prices.
Further according to the displayed price list, the price of superfine rice has also come down, with a bag of 50 kgs being available for Rs.570- Rs.580 while it had gone upto Rs.950- Rs.1000 before the revision of prices by the government recently.
In an interaction with the wholesalers and shop owners and mediapersons, the wholesalers acknowledged that they had earlier taken advantage of the shortage of essential commodities in the state in the face of economic blockade along the highways, and manipulated the prices of essential commodities according to their wishes.
However, the recent increase in the frequency of transportation of essential commodities along the Imphal-Jiribam road and the subsequent filling up of their godowns has brought down the prices again.
The wholesalers further informed that their godowns have the capacity to supply essential commodities to the state for another ten days.
They also stated that if the government provide security to the transporters and help transportation of essential commodities without any obstruction, then there is the possibility of bringing down the prices of essential commodities to the pre-blockade rates.
They further acknowledge that if the flow of transportation along the Imphal-Moreh road is maintained by the government, then the wholesalers can assure that there is no shortage of essential commodities in the state even during economic blockades as even essential commodities are also brought in along the Imphal-Moreh road.
Meanwhile, after listening to the wholesalers observations, the minister further stated that business establishments in Silchar has enough stocks to supply to Manipur as they have started maintaining an additional stock for the state since they are aware of the fact that Manipur faces acute shortage of essential commodities during economic blockades.
He further stated that since Silchar is nearer, transporting essential commodities from there will be more beneficial for the state as it will bring down transportation charges of the truckers as compared to transportation of commodities from Guwahati, and also increase the frequency of transportation.
Meanwhile, elaborating on the Tamenglong issue, he stated that rice quotas allotted to the district are directly delivered from the Jiribam FCI godown and that there are official records of provision of the allotted rice quota to the district administration in time.
However, he added since there are allegations that the allotted rice have failed to reach the beneficiaries, the state government will conduct an official inquiry and punitive actions will be taken up against anyone found involved in any irregularities regarding the distribution of the PDS items in the district.
He had further appealed to local traders in the various districts to maintain a reasonable price while selling essential commodities in their respective localities.