Prices of essential commodities have risen in Assam in last 5 years: Minister

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Guwahati, Jul 20 (PTI) Retail prices of almost all essential food items have increased in Assam since 2016, with the rates for onion and mustard oil registering the highest spike, Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister Ranjit Kumar Dass informed the Assembly on Tuesday.

Only the price of potato has remained constant, while that of Masur dal (small variety) has decreased, the minister said.

Dass was replying to a starred question by Opposition Congress MLA Nurul Huda.

While the retail price per kg of onion in February 2016, was Rs 20 (minimum) and Rs 24 (maximum), it has increased to a minimum of Rs 42 and a maximum of Rs 45 in February 2021, the minister said.

Similarly, the retail rate per litre of mustard oil was between Rs 80 and Rs 125 in February 2016, while it increased to Rs 140-Rs 165 in February 2021, and then to Rs 150-Rs 200 in June 2021.

The minimum rates per kg fine variety of Ijong rice and Basmoti rice (superfine variety) have increased by Rs 10 between February 2016, and February 2021, to reach Rs 34 and Rs 40 respectively, while the maximum prices have gone up by Rs 4 and Rs 16 respectively.

The retail prices of other items, including Masur dal (bold variety) and whole gram, have also increased over the period, the minister informed.

The price of potato per kg at Rs 12 (minimum ) and Rs 14 (maximum) has remained constant during the period.

However, the rate has increased between February 2021, to June 2021, to reach a minimum of Rs 17 and a maximum of Rs 23.

The retail price of Masur dal (small) has gone down from Rs 84 (minimum ) and Rs 110 (maximum ) in February 2016, to Rs 80 (minimum ) and Rs 100 (maximum).

But in June 2021, prices of the item were higher than that of February this year and were at Rs 90 (minimum ) and Rs 102 (maximum).

On steps taken to check unnatural price rise, Dass informed Enforcement Squads have been formed by the department in all districts.

A toll-free phone number, 18003453611, is also available for consumers to complain about any unnatural price rise, black marketeering, etc., he added.

The government also maintains coordination with the Railway authorities, Food Corporation of India, and business bodies to ensure an uninterrupted supply of food items, the minister added.

The BJP and its allies for the first time had formed a government in the northeastern state after defeating the Congress in the 2016 state polls. It retained power for the second term after winning the assembly election this year.

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