BHOPAL: The impact of the hike in fuel prices can now be felt clearly as the truckers have silently increased the freight charges, even as bus operators have threatened to go on a strike next week demanding an increase in passenger fares.
The truckers have increased tariffs by up to 15% in the past one week, although unofficially. Transporters are increasing prices and freight operators are adding surcharges for transportation of goods as they grapple with the hike in fuel rates.
Cascading effects of the hike in the rates of petrol and diesel are apparent now in the markets as the increased logistical costs for companies and products are apparent on the market shelves. Truck rentals have shot up for perishable items, such as fruits and vegetables, making them dear.
“Vegetables and fruits are coming to Bhopal on increased freight charges, thereby making them costlier,” said Kamal Panjwani of Harsh Transport. “The truckers had hiked the basic fare by about 10%-15% from February 15. It’s expected to increase further.”
“Fruits coming from Maharashtra, such as grapes, oranges and so forth, are now costing us dear due to the hike in freight charges. We haven’t increased the prices now, but we can’t retain our current price levels for long,” said Kamal Shejwar, wholesale fruit merchant from Bhopal.
The impact of the fuel hike is now apparent in the retail market, where the prices of almost all goods have shot up. The prices of grains are also expected to go northwards.
Another transporter said that they had had to bear heavy losses because of the corona pandemic. “We were already running at a loss and the unprecedented price hike in fuel has made business more difficult,” he said. The increased freight charges will force companies dealing in consumer goods to increase prices, too.
Hike in prices of essential items
Vegetable ghee, which was Rs 110 kg on January 1, has reached Rs 130 per kg now
Similarly, the price of mustard oil has increased from Rs 150 to Rs 165 per litre
Soybean refined oil touched Rs 140 per litre from Rs 120 about a month ago
Increase in the rates of lentils has also been observed. Arhar dal has reached Rs 125 from Rs 85 kg, while chana dal, which was Rs 55-Rs 60, has reached Rs 65-Rs 70 per kg
Bus operators threaten strike
Bus operators have started demanding a hike in passenger fares. They say that they will stop plying buses from next week if the government does not allow them to raise passenger fares. ‘We can’t ply buses on the existing fares. We’ve given our representation to the authorities concerned and, if the fares aren’t increased, we can’t sustain losses and will go on strike,’ said Virendra Sahu, vice-president of the Bus Operators’ Association.