Much needed rice for the people has still been dearer even though the central government has not imposed GST on it. The exploitation has been continued by the traders even though the government rolled back its decision to impose the tax on the product which is used commonly.Consequently, the cost of rice had not come down with the tricks of the traders. Rice is a much-needed product which poor and middle class buy it on a regular basis and the GST would impact budget of the poor and hence the central government considered to relax the tax as it belongs to agriculture sector.
In fact, some states had nil tax on rice while some had 5 per cent tax and there is no tax on rice and hence prices have come down in many places. Still, price of rice is hovering at Rs 50-55 per kilogram in the open market. Consumers expected the decision of the Centre would bring some solace to them through reducing prices of rice at least by Rs 5-10 but the situation proved to be wrong as the traders continued exploiting the situation.
There are more than 30 lakh population in the district and more than 65 per cent people eat rice, especially fine varieties. According to estimates, there is usage of 7,000-9,000 quintals of rice on a daily basis across the district. In such a case, the amount which was not reduced even after GST has been found to be an additional burden of around Rs 50 lakh on the consumers per day.The skyrocketing price of rice has been bothering the consumers. The spree of exploitation unabated and people were expressing their dissatisfaction over lax attitude of the official machinery. “This has been a continuous exploitation by traders and no action from the officials concerned to relieve the burden. Even though they were telling action against such traders and still there were no sincere efforts,” said K Ramana Rao, a retired teacher from BV Nagar.The mixing of PDS rice with fine varieties is another problem for consumers where some traders polish the rice and add to the quality rice in a certain proportion. Hence, some traders have still been importing PDS rice from Tamil Nadu and the officials conducting raids and booking cases against the illegal transportation.