With shops closed and supplies cut off, food prices jump in violence-torn Basirhat | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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With shops closed and supplies cut off, food prices jump in violence-torn Basirhat

The price of potato, the most essential vegetable, has risen three times compared to last week.

kolkata Updated: Jul 08, 2017 16:30 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Swapan Pal’s grocery store at Trimohini crossing in Basirhat was vandalised.
Swapan Pal’s grocery store at Trimohini crossing in Basirhat was vandalised.(Samir Jana)

Fear is not the only enemy residents of violence-torn Basirhat town in the North 24 Parganas have to fight these days. With shops and markets closed since last Sunday and supply chains cut off, people are being forced to choose between hunger and an artificial inflation.

Supplies are dwindling and prices of vegetable, chicken, egg, fish, mutton and other perishable items are heading north.

While fish, chicken and mutton have almost vanished from some of the markets, certain vegetables and eggs are still available but their prices however have touched a point that not many can afford for long.

With prohibitory orders in the entire area and vehicles staying off the roads, supply of essential commodities in the area was badly hit. (Samir Jana)

Ruma Mandal, a homemaker from the Chapapara area near Basirhat town is serving only potato curries to her family for the last few days. “It is the only vegetable available in the local markets ever since tension gripped this area on Monday,” she said. “But potato is selling at a premium. Last week I paid Rs 8 for a kilo and today I bought two kilos for Rs 24,” she complained.

Price of onion is skyrocketing as well. Srinath Ghosh, a resident of the Bhyabla area, said onion used to sell for Rs 20 a kilo before a Facebook post he didn’t even see changed his life. “Now we are paying anything between Rs 30 and 32. Most of the shops are closed and there is an acute shortage of supply. Whatever little is coming to the markets is flying off the shelves before you can bat your eyelids. Most of the shopkeepers are taking the advantage of the situation,” said Ghosh.

A Trinamool Congress party office that was ransacked by locals at Mailakhola in Basirhat on Thursday. (Samir Jana)

The humble egg is not far behind in the race. Price of a pair of poultry chicken eggs has increased from Rs 10 to Rs 16, said Rintu Sahana, a resident of Mailakhali area.

Not willing to be quoted, a district administration official explained the real reason behind the shortage in food at Basirhat. “The difference in the demographic character of Basirhat town and that of the adjoining villages is responsible for this inflation,” he said.

“The town population comprises mostly Hindus while most of the villagers are Muslims. Markets in and around the town are heavily dependent on these villages for their daily supply of vegetable, mutton, fish, chicken and eggs. Ever since the violence started, the villagers have stopped supplying farm and animal products to the town people,” he said.