Vegetables and food grains will be dearer in the next few days, thanks to the recent hike in diesel prices and the consequent increase in rates by the transporters.
After months of dithering, the government increased diesel price by Rs3 a litre, cooking gas by Rs50 a cylinder and kerosene by Rs2 per litre on Friday.
However, the hike in diesel price will add to the woes of the common man, who is already reeling under high inflation.
Transportation is an integral part of the food chain system and fluctuation in the diesel price has a direct impact on the prices of the commodities. The burden is, of course, finally borne by the end user in this system, the customer. The prices of all essential commodities will rise consequently.
Reacting to the hike in diesel prices, the retail transporters at the wholesale Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) at Vashi hiked the prices of vegetables and fruits on Monday. These transporters supply food grains, vegetables and fruits from the wholesale market to Mumbai and its surrounding areas.
Murli Pawar, president of Retailer Transport Owner Association of Navi Mumbai, said, “Following the recent hike in diesel price, we have increased our charges by Rs5 for a 50 kg gunny bag. The charges will be collected from the retailers,” adding, “this hike will not cover our losses, but it will help us to some extent. Of course, the retailer will pass on the additional charge to the customers.”
The hike in diesel prices will have an adverse impact on the transporters, said Hardev Singh, president of the Federation of Bombay Motors Association and owner of Dashmesh Roadlines.
“We will lose up to Rs9,000 on every long-distance trip. We already have to bear the burden of toll nakas and pay a plethora of taxes. Now, this hike in fuel charge will only add to our worries,” he said.
Sharad Maru, president of Grain, Rice and Oil Merchant Association, said, “The hike in diesel price will increase the food grain prices by at least 5% to 10%. Although there are protests all across the country, I doubt there will be any roll back.”
Traders say the effect of the price hike will be visible in the market in the next few days.