BENGALURU: The lockdown hit citizens where it hurts most, and a month on, continues to pinch hard — prices of fuel, eating out, food delivery, and even garments are swiftly heading north. A plate of idli-vada and coffee at a restaurant has shot up to Rs 150, post lockdown. Many restaurants are hoping to make up for losses with hiked prices, while a few want to keep their loyal customer base.
Ordering food online and takeaway is also costly, as packaging prices are up, but hoteliers say they have no option. Food delivery apps have hiked charges and stopped subscriptions, only making the hole in the pocket bigger. Veerendra Kamat, secretary, Bruhat Bengaluru Hoteliers’ Association, said: “While some restaurants have not hiked rates to avoid burdening the customer, others have to make ends meet. Restaurants and hotels are running at 30%-40% capacity and each day is a challenge.” Travelling has also become costly as fuel is dearer.
“Fuel prices have been hiked for 17 consecutive days, creating a pandemic of sorts for commuters and public transport operators alike,” said Prasanna Patwardhan, president, BOCI. Essentials and daily items have gone up by 20%. FKCCI past president J R Bangera said the cost of all items will continue to surge till mid-July as the government needs to fill up its coffers. Citizens, already feeling the pinch, have started shopping cautiously.
Regular visitors to malls are no longer spending, and the worst-hit are small-time traders, who have no savings left. Simply put, there is little money to go around. Manjunath S, president of Adarsha Auto Union, said: “We are not getting enough passengers. Earlier, we earned around Rs 700 per day, but now, it’s Rs 300-400.” Commuters say that autorickshaw drivers now request an additional Rs 20.
Appanna PP, secretary, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU-Karnataka) said, “All essential goods are costly. Cooking oil price has increased from Rs 95 a litre to Rs 150.” The Union has decided to protest on May 26 in front of the Labour department. “Since prices are going up, the state government must increase minimum wages for workers,” he added.
The cost of garments has shot up, with rise in raw material cost and shortage of workers. Prakash B, secretary, Garments Association, said malls and stores are clearing old stock at old rates, but the spike is bound to show in the coming days. However, prices of fruits and vegetables have not risen. APMC director Kari Gowda said that wholesale retailers have not hiked prices, though Hopcoms MD Prasad B N said rates are expected to go up as KR Market is closed and Huskur Market is far from the city. Real estate remains stable, and builders have decided to hold prices till September, though cement and sand cost more.