POKHARA, Oct 4: Soaring prices of essential consumable goods on the eve of the festive season has panicked consumers in Pokhara.
A liter of mustard oil used to cost Rs 145 in the city toward the end of July. Now, consumers have to pay Rs 200 for the same.
In the span of two and half months, the price of mustard oil has increased Rs 55 per liter. The price of Soyabean oil has also shot up by Rs 25 per liter. Sunflower oil price has gone up Rs 30 per liter.
Likewise, the price rise of daily consumable products like rice, flour and vegetables have gone through the roof. The price of the Jeera Masino rice has increased by Rs 10 per kg. The price of flour and refined flour has also gone up by Rs 5 per kg.
According to Agricultural Product Market Management (APMA) at Prithi Chowk, the price of vegetables at the wholesale market has jumped over 100 percent. Rupa Dahal, manager at the APMA, said that cauliflower has seen the highest price rise, of Rs 30 per kg. It used to cost Rs 80 per kg in July end, but now, a kg of the vegetable costs Rs 110. The price of gourd also went up to Rs 70 per kg from Rs 40 Kg. Similarly, bitter gourd price has also reached Rs 80 per kg.
"At this moment, there is not a single vegetable whose price has not gone up," said Dahal. "This is the season when vegetables tend to be expensive. Unless new produce comes into the market, the price won't go down."
Traders are also worried with the price rise of essential goods. They say that they have to change the price list everyday due to daily rise of the prices. "The price of edible oil has gone up the most. Consumers get kind of shocked when they hear the price," said Moti Bhujel, proprietor of Munal Stores based at Chiple Dhunga.
"The price rise has made the meals very expensive. The consumers' reaction seems justified because their kitchen expenses have gone up," he said. He said that consumers become reluctant to buy goods when they hear the increased price.
Pokhara gets its supplies mostly from Birgunj, Dhangadi and Nepalgunj. The transportation cost from these cities has also increased, contributing to the rise of commodity prices. Transportation entrepreneurs have also increased the cost of transportation by Rs 2 to Rs 3 per kg under the pretext of rise of petroleum prices.
"The cost has increased by Rs 2 per kg for transportation which is eventually passed over to consumers," Bhujel said.
Consumers say that the rising prices have added financial burden on them prior to the festival season. "The prices of goods have gone up, making them increasingly unaffordable. The prices have been rising each day," said Bina Baral, a housewife in Pokhara said.