Source The Hindu
The poor remain out of focus; common man the most helpless
The common man has started feeling the heat of the ever-rising inflation, which the Government claims to have caused steep increase in the prices of fuel and subsequently of essential commodities. The common man is the most helpless with no alternative but to shell out more to buy essentials as it is him on whom the burden is passed on to, ultimately.
Traders wasted no time in increasing the prices of all essential commodities and edible oils. Private passenger transport operators have also increased ticket price and passed off the extra burden on the commuting public. Goods transporters are apparently not lagging behind.
In Belgaum city, where the cost of living is relatively higher than many other cities and towns in the State, the prices have further gone up. The middle class is finding it difficult to cope with the rise in expenditure as the prices of essential commodities, land value and house rent have all gone up. The poor families remain simply out of focus and remain harassed.
In addition to the fuel pumps and foodgrains/vegetable/fruit markets, one of the sectors where the heat of price rise is immediately felt is the hotel industry. As far as Belgaum city is concerned, the prices in all restaurants have gone up. The average increase is from 20 per cent to 50 per cent on all regular dishes on the menu.
Though the number of customers has marginally come down in a few hotels, the loss is well made good by the increased prices. In a popular hotel in the city, the situation has not affected its daily turnover because the management has “marginally” increased the prices of food items, from Rs. 2 to Rs. 3 on idli, dosa, vada, puri bhaji and Rs. 5 on plate meals (from Rs. 40 to Rs. 45). The business continues to be as usual, says a senior staff of the hotel.
The prices in roadside chat and mobile tea stalls have also gone up. Vijay Dattaram Gaude, who runs a petty tea stall on Narvekar Galli in the city and arranges for door-delivery on a “missed call” on his mobile phone, has also increased the price from Rs. 2 to Rs. 2.50 for a small cup of tea. Whereas the same tea costs Rs. 5 to Rs. 6 in other canteens and cafes and restaurants.
Then, some hoteliers have been just more than shrewd and are taking the customer for a ride by not only increasing prices by Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 for each dish but also reducing quantity. Apparently, while traders continue to make profits, the common man continues to pay through his nose.
Interestingly, even invitations for tea from friends have come down.