Post demonetisation, present tense for Delhi’s food market
Nearly three weeks after demonetisation sucked out cash from the economy, the food market, mainly grocery, has remained deceptive. The crisis has not only tumbled the market up to 60 per cent but has also led to price rise of essential household commodities like flour, oil and pulses. The crisis can be judged from the fact that prices of flour have risen by 25-35 per cent and oil by 20-30 per cent, according to wholesale traders and retailers across the national Capital. The market analysts claim more misery in the coming days as no concrete step is being taken to handle the situation.
“With sudden announcement of scrapping higher denomination notes, there was no option left for any section of society living in the country. The market players, involved in trade and business of food items, were badly hit as both demand and supply went down drastically. On one side, suppliers forced us to make payments for stock supplied earlier while purchasing power of the consumers recorded drastic cuts resulting in huge monetary losses. The severe consequences of the effect have also been felt in Asia’s largest food and grocery markets that have witnessed thin presence these days,” said Pradeep Gupta, a trader from Khari Baoli, the largest dry fruit market of Asia.
Post demonetisation, the cash crisis has led to a manifold rise in prices of essential household commodities during these three weeks. With nearly Rs 7 per kg increase in the unorganised market and Rs 10 per kg increase in the organised one, wheat prices have witnessed maximum hike during the period. Earlier, a 20-kg packet of wheat was available for Rs 260-300 but now the price has gone up to Rs 340 in the unorganised market and Rs 350 to Rs 440 in the organised markets like Big Bazar, Reliance Fresh and other retail outlets. Prices of mustard oil, refined and other oils are also being sold on heightened prices as wholesale markets have recorded an increase of Rs 10-20 per litre. “Earlier, mustard oil was available for Rs 100 a litre in the wholesale market but after the currency ban, it has gone up to Rs 120. The same is available above Rs 145 in retail markets,” said Dinesh Gupta, a trader from the same market.
As far as prices of pulses are concerned, most of the items have recorded a hike. The worst affected are gram (chana dal) as its price has shot up to Rs 125 per kg from Rs 85-100 in the wholesale market. The same product is available at the rate of Rs 140-145 in the retail market. Rates of Bengal gram has also gone up from Rs 90 a kg to Rs 104 in wholesale markets. “Amid the crisis, the price of pulses has shot up. The worse is that it will record further increase as some traders may now indulge in hoarding,” said Dinesh Kumar, a trader from Naya Bazar market. Cash-strapped customers-and-retailers visiting various mandis are also having a tough time as they have been struggling hard to meet their ends meet. A majority of them have been demanding goods in lesser quantities resulting in lesser market transactions. A few have even been asking for goods on credit from wholesalers as well. Similarly, a majority of households have been seeking food items on credit from retailers leading to the crisis.
“I am a student living alone in Delhi. Due to the cash crunch, prices have increased considerably and it is becoming difficult for me to survive,” said Chandan Singh, a student living in Mukherjee Nagar area.