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Grocery prices in the state may go high

FCRGDUJG33OTOF3.LARGEKochi: Get ready for a price hike in groceries in the state. The price tags of grocery items are to go high as Supplyco wants to significantly raise prices of subsidised grocery items except raw rice and sugar from June 1.

A proposal by Supplyco managing director has sought the state government’s nod to revise prices every month to cut down on the government agency’s operating loss and if the government accepts the proposal, 12 items including parboiled rice, urad dal and coconut oil will be pricier by as much as Rs 26.

Supplyco wants to raise the price of green gram from Rs 74 to Rs 88, Bengal gram from Rs 43 to Rs 53, toor dal from Rs 65 to Rs 86 and urad dal from Rs 66 to Rs 92. Chilli will be costlier by Rs 16 at Rs 91 and coriander by Rs 10 at Rs 100.

The price of Jaya rice, Kuruva rice and matta rice may go up by Re 1 to Rs 26. A litre of coconut oil may cost Rs 135, instead of the present Rs 130 and half a litre may cost Rs 68, instead of Rs 65.The proposal points out that Supplyco incurred a loss of Rs 240.42 crore in the previous financial year on subsidies.

This excludes a loss of Rs 11.87 crore the agency incurred on supplying free Onam kits to families below the poverty line. The agency’s total losses go up to Rs 261.19 crore when the Rs 8.9 crore spent on supplying sugar for Onam is also added.

The government, however, has transferred only Rs 70 crore to the agency. A government order requires Supplyco to sell groceries at a discount of only 20 per cent to market prices.

The agency has drawn flak from the CAG for not abiding by this, the managing director’s report points out. Grains and pulses have been getting costlier in the market for the past two months. If Supplyco prices are revised every month, its losses can be brought down to less than Rs 15 crore per month.

The managing director hopes to cut losses to Rs 180-200 crore this financial year by raising prices. If the government agrees, it will have a spiraling effect on the market. Consumerfed had closed down many of its Nanma stores already.

With inputs from agencies.

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