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Unrest costly for Valley

india Updated: Aug 01, 2010 00:18 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times
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Sayeda, a resident of Srinagar's Khana Kahemohalla, anxiously waits for shops to open so that she can buy food for her family of eight.

But after seven weeks of unrest, stores are often shut and, when they open, she has to pay much more for basic items such as vegetables or cooking oil.

"During shutdowns people could buy after sunset as grocers used to open shops at night," Sayeda told Hindustan Times on the phone.

"But curfew means everything is closed."

Her husband, an auto rickshaw driver, is the only earning member in the family.

"He doesn't earn that much," she said. "And for the past one-and-a-half months he has been home due to the unrest."

The cycle of violence and curfew or curfew-like restrictions that has plagued Kashmir since June 11 has severely strained day-to-day life in Srinagar, with prices of essentials commodities shooting up and black marketeers taking advantage of the strife to make a quick buck.

"Since petrol pumps are closed, black marketeers stock petrol and sell it at their small outlets at double the price," said a media professional.

"At these places you will get petrol for not less than Rs 70 a litre."

Residents said LPG cylinders were in short supply for the past several days.

"We don't have cooking gas cylinders in our area even when the markets open," said Muzaffar Ahmad, a-60-year-old resident of downtown Srinagar.

A domestic LPG cylinder weighing 14.2 kg that costs around Rs 370 is being sold for Rs 400 to Rs 500 in the black.

Vegetable prices have reached an all-time high too, residents say.

"There is nothing one can buy for less than Rs 50 (per kg)," said Mehbooba from the city's Qamerwari area.

People say grocery shops are charging more than the MRP even on branded items, and medicines are not always available. Residents of Rajouri Kadal, Nowhatta, Zaina Kadal, Gojwara, Habba Kadal, Fateh Kadal and Maisuma said they were facing acute shortages of milk, bread and vegetables.

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