By Muneeb Naqeeb
Srinagar- Cooking gas, LPG, was hiked by Rs. 50 on Saturday, bringing the cost of non-subsidized LPG gas Cylinder (14.2Kgs) to Rs. 1008. LPG has Crossed the Rs. 1000 mark in Srinagar. The Rs 94 subsidy is effective for 12 Cylinders per year. This is the 2nd price hike in over six weeks; prices were increased by Rs. 50 in March 2022. Since April 2021, prices have gone up by Rs 190 per cylinder. Inflation seems to be booming.
The price spike is just another blow to the average man’s wallet, as the instability, and lockdowns have made life difficult for the Kashmiri middle class; stagflation only intensifies the suffering.
“I have been struggling to make my ends meet, and have been working hard for my family, but the inflation is making it more and more difficult for me to live a decent life. Cooking Gas, Petrol, Water, Electricity; are all necessary for life, and one just cannot do without these. The prices for all these basic commodities have been skyrocketing since the last 2-3 years,” says Bilal Ahmed, an Auto driver.
As inflation has already burnt a hole in the common man’s wallet, the price rise of a necessary commodity, like, LPG; surely seems to have made people a tad more bitter towards the power that be.
“During the covid lockdowns and the instability, I had already burnt down my savings, and now due to them charging us more money, life is getting more and more difficult. Not a single item has remained unscathed by inflation, how does a commoner keep up when the prices for almost every essential commodity are soaring, “says Aijaz, a shopkeeper.
Halima; a widower, says “My husband died in November 2018, since then, my 26 years old son has been taking care of the family. Between saving up for his studies and making ends meet, price hikes like these are only adding to our trouble.”
It is not just the domestic Gas that has seen a spike in the last six weeks. This year, in April, the price of 19 kg Commercial Cooking Gas jumped by Rs. 250 per cylinder, and it now costs Rs. 2,253. This was the second price increase in a month; in March, the price for the same was increased by Rs. 105.
Due to this constant hike in LPG Gas Cylinders, the Tea Stall & B Grade Hotel Association of Kashmir were forced to revise the rate list of particular Food Items sold at their respective premises. Tea is now sold at Rs.12 which previously would be offered at Rs. 10, Chicken Patty is at Rs. 30 per piece, which previously was sold to the customer at Rs. 25, Samosa is at Rs. 13, which previously was sold at Rs. 10, Chicken Samosa is at Rs. 28, flat, which previously was sold at Rs. 25 and so on.
“I have been running a tea stall for the better part of around 15 years, and I know by experience that my customers usually are the daily wagers; auto drivers, students, and other people with little to menial income. The revised rate list does help me to bring in some sort of a living, but at the same time, my usual customers are now, naturally, tightening the purse strings,” said Shah Nawaaz, a Tea stall owner in the Dalgate area.
This Rs. 2 to Rs. 5 that has been increased in the food served at these places, is directly related to the LPG price hike of RS. 50 that was announced earlier. At face value, it might not seem a lot for the people who have made these decisions, but for the people who live on a budget; it is a lot.
“From ‘Cooking Gas’ to ‘Samosa and Tea’ everything is growing costlier with each passing day. “For a person like me, the subhuman of the society, whose entire family lives on a droplet of a monthly budget, life surely is getting difficult day by day, and this inflation nonsense is making it worse. How does the administration not see the pain this inflation is causing to us, the common man?” Asks Zahoor Ahmed, a labourer.
Due to a gradual increase in crude prices, and because of the demand recovery that followed the easing of Covid-19 inspired restrictions, and the sulky production rejuvenation by the Oil Exporter’s, and the infamous ongoing Russia-Ukraine war the gas prices have seen a steep hike.