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Covid-19: Price volatility in essential commodities hits Odisha consumers

Bhubaneswar: While the efforts to contain the COVID-19 spread are on with regular lockdowns and shutdowns, prices of vegetables and essential commodities have increased sharply burning holes in consumers’ wallets in Odisha.
Vegetables have seen a steep rise in prices in the last couple of months with consumers expressing concerns and alleging that the lockdown has led to monopoly-pricing in retail markets across the state.
However, small retailers claimed that shortfall in demand for vegetables along with lower production amid COVID-19 has made the markets more vulnerable to price volatility.
“Prices of tomatoes and potatoes have risen sharply in the last couple of days. It’s getting difficult to manage with the continuous increase in prices,” said a consumer.
Another consumer alleged, “A day before the weekend shutdown (on Fridays), the retailers are increasing prices of each and every commodity manyfold. Left with no other option, we have to buy.”
“We are dependent on other states for most of the items and vegetable and had suffered losses due to a sudden plunge in demand. It’s difficult to comment on the issue,” said Debendra Nath Sahoo, secretary of Chhatra Bazaar Traders’ Association.
Secretary of All Odisha Traders’ Association, Sudhakar Panda, however, said that prices of vegetable are a bit high as there is less supply in the market. “Sale of most of the essential household commodities like sugar, oil, rice, dal have also been badly affected due to the pandemic,” he said.
On the other hand, wholesale markets in Odisha have reportedly witnessed a 50 per cent slump in trade in the last couple of months.
“As most of the hotels and hostels are closed and restrictions have been clamped on marriages, our sale has been adversely affected,” said a wholesaler.

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