Costlier rice, pulses sharply eat into household budget

Tur, urad dal may cost Rs 200 a kg in coming weeks, observers say

 The rising prices of rice, pulses and other edibles are eating into the monthly household budget, forcing people to go for cheaper food items.

Wholesale and retail traders attribute the rising prices of tur dal, the main ingredient for sambar and rasam, to its low production. Tur dal prices have gone up by Rs 5-11 in the last three days (see chart). Market observers say the prices of tur and urad dal may touch Rs 200 in the next two weeks.

Sugar, fenugreek (methi), dried red chilly and edible oil without which no food preparation is complete are also becoming costlier. Sugar has become dearer by at least Rs three, traders say. Sunflower oil is now costlier by Rs 5-7 and palm oil Rs three, according to Gangadharaiah M, who works at Karnataka Oil Federation. He attributed the rise to the increase in duty levied by the Central government.

Rice eaters, especially those fond of ‘Sona Masuri’, have been affected, too. Venkatesh R, a wholesale rice trader in Kalasipalya, said: “Sona Masuri fine variety costs Rs 44-56 per kg now. A week ago, it cost Rs 37-44.” But he said the prices of other varieties of rice were stable.

R Vishalakshmi, a resident of Hennur, said she had cut down the purchase of tur dal to two kg per month, from five kg earlier. Dr Mune Gowda, from Yelahanka, said vegetables such as spinach and methi have also become dearer. “Two days ago, I bought a bundle of methi for Rs 15. It earlier cost Rs 5-6. Farmers tell me that it’s because of poor rainfall,” he said.

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