Prices still the same, election gimmick says consumer and tradeJuly 14, 2012, 6:52 pm
by Maheen Senanayake
Potatoes were selling wholesale at Rs. 65 per kilo in Pettah yesterday while the retail price was Rs. 80 whether they came from Pakistan or China", Yogeswaran, a Pettah wholesaler said.
A Kg. of Bombay onions too sold Rs. 65 wholesale while it retailed at Rs. 80. These were the prices on Friday before the duty reductions were announced and they remained the same on Saturday.
"There is no reduction. We can only reduce prices if the duties actually come down. Even then, it will trickle down to the consumer through the wholesale market only with the next consi76gnment," Yogeswaran explained.
"What if the ministry of trade and commerce insist that you immediately sell at this rate?"
"Well, then the wholesalers and importers must hold the stock and keep it until they can sell it at profit. This will in fact further burden the markets with a dearth and drive the prices up," he said.
"The duty on a kilo of potatoes is about Rs. 30 so the reduction might lead to a reduction of about 10 rupees at the retail point. Is that a real reduction for the consumer?,’’ he asked.
"There are other more important essentials, he added. What about dhal we cannot do without, milk power and sugar?"
Ramesh is a retailer within the Manning Market premises. His shop sold potatoes, Bombay onions and dry fish. The mountain of canned fish stood in the backdrop.
"The price is Rs. 80 he said for a kilo of Bombay onions and Rs. 80 for a kilo of potatoes. The price has not changed in the last few days.’’
"We are unable to change the price until wholesalers bring the price down. These government people are ignorant of these facts. These are election gimmicks."
His sentiments were shared by many. No one in particular demanded these discounts.
Ruvini Alahakoon, a shopper in Pettah, laughed out loud when I asked her whether she was aware of the reductions.
"I am not aware of the reductions,’’ she said. ``And even if they have come down, they will only go back up after these elections."
One after another, consumers and traders were unimpressed with the announcement. Dismissing these as temporary and election related.
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