Ten days after the Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes were demonetised, price of wheat flour has shot up by at least 20-25% while that of maida (refined wheat flour) by 100% in Madhya Pradesh amidst poor supply of essential commodities and alleged hoarding by wholesalers --- the first time in a decade in the state that inflation has hit wheat to such an extent, say market experts.
“Wheat has broken all the previous records in terms of rise in prices while rates of other essential food grains and oil have also increased,” said Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) MP spokesperson Vivek Sahu.
The poor supply of essential commodities due to demonetisation is said to be the main reason behind soaring prices of wheat. A 25-kg wheat flour packet, which sold for Rs 540 a few days ago, is available at Rs 650 now. In wholesale market, its rate has increased by Rs 300-400 per quintal.
In addition, the currency ban has also affected rates of other food grains and essential food items as prices of oil, sugar, gram flour and all kinds of pulses have increased by 10-30%.
“There was a liquidity crunch in the market and essential food items are not being supplied in enough quantity which led to increase in prices of food items,” said Sahu adding if the situation doesn’t normalise in the next ten days, prices of food products would increase further.
Shopkeepers and experts feel hoarding by wholesalers and the state government’s fake claims are reasons behind rise in prices. “Rates of almost all the commodities have increased but that of wheat flour has crossed all previous records. People have stopped buying atta (wheat flour) bags. I have been running a general store shop for the last 15 years and I am sure the rise in prices is due to hoarding only,” said a shopkeeper on condition of anonymity.
Kisan Sangh president Shivkumar Sharma ‘kakkaji’ said, “It’s hard to believe that the poor supply has hit the rates of wheat and food grains when the state government has received the Krishi Karman Award in the last three consecutive years for overall production of food grains and the state became the second largest producer in the country in wheat production.”
“Rise in prices of wheat and other items has shown that government’s claim of bumper production was fake one. When I filed an RTI last year, an agriculture department officer said there was a production of 90 lakh metric tonnes of wheat but when I filed another RTI again after some time for the same, the production figure came down to 60 lakh metric tonnes. The government should stop befooling people,” Sharma said.
Quick increase in rates
Items and their rates as on November 20, rates in October shown in brackets
Wheat flour: Rs 650-Rs 670/ 25 kg bag (Rs 540/25 kg bag)
Chana Dal: Rs 160/kg (Rs 110-120/ kg)
Besan: Rs 150 /kg (Rs 100/kg)
Toor Dal: Rs 110/kg (Rs 102/kg)
Sugar: Rs 45/kg (Rs 40 /kg)
Mustard Oil: Rs 70 /litre (Rs 75 /litre)
Moong Dal: Rs 80-Rs 90/ kg (Rs 70 /kg)