Manipur, April 24: Student organizations and civil groups have expressed concern over the soaring prices of essential commodities in Manipur reportedly taking undue advantage of the covid-19 pandemic. Student groups have been raiding several shops in Imphal to check the prices of items sold to the people.
According to students, the shopkeepers are not maintaining any price list for items including consumer goods.
Roshan, general secretary of Manipur Students Federation said, “We checked whether the shops prominently display the price list as per directives of the government. We advised the shop keepers to comply with the government orders”.
He further said that people reeling under the pandemic will be hard hit by the whimsical price hike. He warned the traders against the gravy train in the backdrop of the pandemic. “This is the first step and we shall continue the drive”, he told the reporters.
All Manipur Students Union has started its own drive against the price hikes. Ayub Khan, president of All Manipur Muslim Students’ Organisation said, “When the traders hike the prices it is the daily wage earners who are hit hard. People are not happy that price lists are not displayed and the shop keepers get carte blanche to whimsically hike the prices of daily use items”. He further said that the Muslim students shall continue to monitor the prices of essential commodities.
Apart from the prices of the essential commodities, there is an unreasonable hike of all prices including city bus fares. The private suppliers of “potable water” had increased the price to ₹300 per 1000 liters from ₹250 during the pre-covid-19 days.
Thokchom Satyabrata, Minister of consumer affairs, distribution, and public distribution says that there is no shortage of essential items. As regards the unreasonable price hike he said that he had instructed the officials of the Price Fixation Committee to look into the matter.
The situation is more worrisome as essential commodities cannot be lifted uninterrupted and transported to Manipur in view of the increasing blockades and general strikes. Manipur does not have any rail line to transport these goods direct to Imphal.