PATNA: In a distressing turn of events, Bihar is currently grappling with a substantial surge in the prices of essential commodities. Over the past 20 days, the state has witnessed an alarming 30% increase in the cost of basic necessities, leaving the middle class, lower middle class, and laborers struggling to make ends meet.
One notable price hike is that of LPG cylinders, which remain above the Rs 1,000 mark despite recent government subsidies. Prior to the subsidy adjustment, a single LPG cylinder in Patna was priced at Rs 1,250; now, even with the subsidy, it stands at Rs 1,050. This significant cost burden is a concerning issue for the residents of Bihar.
Notably, neighboring states are witnessing more favorable LPG prices. In Uttar Pradesh, LPG cylinders are available at Rs 940, while in Rajasthan, they cost Rs 906. The disparity in prices adds to the woes of Bihar’s residents.
In addition to LPG, the state is facing elevated prices for petrol and diesel compared to other regions. In Patna, petrol is priced at Rs 108 per liter, and diesel at Rs 98. Even Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) has seen an increase, reaching Rs 87 per kilogram.
The price surge extends beyond fuel. Essential food items, such as Arhar pulse, have soared from Rs 120-130/kg to a staggering Rs 160/kg. Gram pulse has followed suit, increasing from Rs 60-65/kg to around Rs 80/kg. Other staples like rice, chura, flour, and mustard oil have also witnessed significant price hikes.
The consequences of these rising costs are especially harsh on residents with limited incomes. Many are forced to cut back on expenses and opt for cheaper alternatives in their daily food choices. Retailers, too, are struggling as they grapple with higher procurement costs and diminished consumer spending power.
The geographical disadvantage of being far from the coast has contributed to the elevated transportation costs in Bihar, which, in turn, affect the prices of essential items compared to other states. Addressing this complex issue and curbing any potential hoarding activities by big stockists is crucial to alleviate the plight of the middle and lower-class citizens who are severely impacted by this price surge.
As the state continues to grapple with these challenges, it is imperative for both state and central governments to devise effective solutions to stabilize commodity prices and ensure affordable access to essentials for all citizens of Bihar.