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Coronavirus impact: Kirana stores hike prices of loose flour, pulses as demand soars

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Coronavirus impact: Kirana stores hike prices of loose flour, pulses as demand soars

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Over the last month, many homemakers in the city have been reminded of the popular Hindi phrase ‘atte dal ka bhav’, which means to realize the difficulties of running a household.

Over the last month, many homemakers in the city have been reminded of the popular Hindi phrase ‘atte dal ka bhav’, which means to realize the difficulties of running a household.

Prices of unbranded flour and pulses have been rising steadily and this trend is expected to continue till the end of the nationwide lockdown. A market check by CNBC-TV18 reveals that kirana stores are charging 20-30 percent higher for loose flour and pulses since the lockdown began last month.
"Demand for pulses has just shot up over people are unsure about vegetable supplies,” said a kirana store owner. Shopkeepers estimate that demand for both flour and pulses has risen around 30-40 percent.
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In many areas, flour which used to cost Rs 50 for a kilo are now going for Rs 70-80 a kilo. The same is the case with sooji (rawa)with prices having increased by Rs 15-20 for a kilo.
And while buyers are angry at having to pay more, they have little choice in the matter.  "We have to pay any price that kirana stores charge for these loose or unpackaged commodities as there is no fixed MRP for these items. Different stores are charging as they please," said Shreya Gandhi, a resident of South Mumbai.
Kirana stores have hiked prices for pulses like toor dal and moong dal as well, by 20-25 percent.
But grocers say they have been forced to raise prices as they have to pay a higher price while procuring these items, because of supply shortage.
"There is a short supply of pulses in the market,” said a kirana store owner at Bandra.
“We get a large amount pulses from markets like Gujarat. Owing to the shortage of trucks and other transportation issues that have slowed down cross border movement, supply is very restricted," he said.
Prices are expected to stabilise once supply eases out. But till then, consumers will have to shell out more for these essentials.
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