Ludhiana: Parents feel the pinch as stationery items get dearer
The wholesale distributors of various brands and city-based manufacturers cited the hike in the price of paper to be the reason behind the increase in prices of notebooks
Parents of school-going children, who are rushing to stationery stores to buy essential items for the new academic session set to start from April 1, are in for a rude shock with the prices of all stationery supplies, including books, school bags, pencils and pens, up by around 10%.
Parents and school-going students, who are thronging the stationary stores in different parts of the city, including Model town, Sarabha Nagar, BRS Nagar, and wholesale books market near Chaura Bazar are shelling out more money to procure essential items such as pencils, pens, notebooks, school bags, water bottles, geometry and lunch boxes.
The wholesale distributors of various brands and city-based manufacturers cited the hike in the price of paper to be the reason behind the increase in prices of notebooks and help books, while the sellers blamed overall inflation for the rise in the price of other items. Despite the hike, the markets were beaming with customers on Sunday.
The sellers said that a pack of dozen notebooks which was earlier available at ₹275 is being sold at ₹300, while a pack of branded pencils, which was sold for around ₹35, now costs around ₹40. They added that due to cost-cutting, some brands have also reduced the number of pages per notebook and are compromising on the quality of the products to retain customers.
Sharing his experience, Balwinder Sharma, a resident of Shimlapuri and a parent of two, noted that even though he has bought the same material as last year, the budget has increased by ₹150 to ₹200. He said that he purchases the stationary items for the whole year at wholesale rates to save himself from frequent visits to the market. He said that the geometry box and water bottles which he had bought for ₹80 and ₹300, respectively, have become costlier by ₹20.
Another parent, Sunita Nanda shared that to keep the expenses under budget, they are purchasing second-hand textbooks and help books.
She said that along with the high cost of education, the hike in the prices is adding to the financial burden of residents.
Sumit Sharma, a wholesaler at books market, said that several wholesalers have put up banners for discounted rates for customers who are buying in bulk. As the new session will begin next week, we have managed to have a good business, he said.
Another seller added that in order to attract more customers, they have not increased the margins. He added that prices have been on rise after the Covid pandemic.
Jaswinder Singh, deputy district education officer (primary) said that the government provides textbooks to the students free of cost. He added that to enable the students who are financially weak, the schools collaborate with non-government organisations to provide them with required stationery items.