BHUBANESWAR: Amid a strong possibility of a steep rise in prices of edible oil under the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Odisha government on Friday asked civil supplies officials to check hoarding and keep a tab on illegal trading.
Minister for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Ranendra Pratap Swain directed department officials and collectors to conduct surprise checks to prevent artificial crisis and stop black marketing of sunflower oil in order to ensure uninterrupted supply. The direction came following complaints of an artificial crisis on the pretext that the supply of sunflower oil got disrupted because of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Not only edible oil, the fuel price is also expected to rise ultimately impacting the cost of essential commodities as the crude oil price is going northward. Stating that sunflower oil supply has been hit across the country, Swain apprehended that the conflict, if prolonged, would result in unexpected rise in price of the oil as more than 80 per cent (pc) of the requirement is imported from Russia and Ukraine.
“The impact of the conflict between the two countries is now being felt in the commodities market. Several countries have already been directly or indirectly affected by the current war situation. In such a scenario, the price of edible oil, especially sunflower oil, is likely to rise unreasonably,” he said.
Sunflower oil is now priced Rs 165 to Rs 170 a litre in the open market. The Minister demanded the Centre to reduce import tax and other surcharges on edible oil temporarily to overcome the crisis. Else, the rise in price of essential commodities, fuel and cooking gas will bring more misery for the poor, farmers and the middle class, he said.
General Secretary of Odisha Byabasayee Mahasangha Sudhakar Panda said edible oil will vanish from the markets soon if the supply is not regulated by the Centre and the State government. Apart from monitoring the traders, officials should keep a strict vigil on the firms importing edible oil from foreign countries besides the buying and selling prices, he said.