Prices of essential commodities have spiked in local village markets of Ganjam district, prompting the Odisha government to draw up a plan to distribute 50 kg of rice free to each of the 250,000 families affected by cyclone Phailin.
The distribution will start on Tuesday.
B Sridhar, a fisherman based in a village that is 5-6 km from Ganjam district headquarters, has two sons and a daughter. Sridhar and his family are surviving on puffed rice (chura in local parlance) because they cannot afford rice and vegetables now.
Munna Dass is a farmer who returned home on Sunday evening and found the rice stocked had been blown away along with a major portion of the house.
“Only four days ago I bought rice at Rs. 17 a kg. But the same rice is being sold at Rs. 28-30 a kg now,” Dass said.
Dass’s wife said: “We thought we would purchase rice and potatoes. But the price of potatoes has shot up from Rs. 12 a kg to Rs. 25.”
District collector Krishan Kumar concurs that prices have increased suddenly.
“The government had told truck-owners of Odisha as well as some operators of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh to send some rice and daal. But as panic had spread well in advance about the impending cyclone, truckers were reluctant to come here,” Kumar said.