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ATMs go dry in Guwahati, chicken sells for 500/kg

Food prices have shot up sharply with onions hitting Rs 250/kg and potatoes being sold for Rs 60/kg after markets reopened at 9 am on Saturday as part of a seven-hour relaxation in curfew. The price lean chicken now is Rs 500/kg and rohu fish Rs 420/kg. A bundle of spinach, which usually sells for Rs 10, is now selling for Rs 60.

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Last Updated: Dec 15, 2019, 07.06 AM IST|Original: Dec 15, 2019, 07.06 AM IST
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People rush to buy vegetables as curfew was relaxed for seven hours in Guwahati on Saturday.
(This story originally appeared in on Dec 15, 2019)
GUWAHATI: The ongoing anti-Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) agitation has completely disrupted normal life in Guwahati, with people having to face severe food shortage, sky-high prices, cashless ATMs and defunct card-swiping machines. Also, most fuel stations have gone dry due to supply disruptions or have been crippled by lack of cash and internet facilities.

Food prices have shot up sharply with onions hitting Rs 250/kg and potatoes being sold for Rs 60/kg after markets reopened at 9 am on Saturday as part of a seven-hour relaxation in curfew.

The price lean chicken now is Rs 500/kg and rohu fish Rs 420/kg. A bundle of spinach, which usually sells for Rs 10, is now selling for Rs 60.

Guwahati is completely dependent on vegetables supplied from areas on its outskirts, which are then sold to retailers at the city’s wholesale market.

The wholesalers said they could buy limited stocks of vegetables, and whatever was available was sold out within hours of the market opening on Saturday morning.

Since last Sunday, hundreds of trucks carrying agricultural products have been stranded at Srirampur and Boxirhat on the Bengal-Assam border. “The supply chain has been completely disrupted. The government needs to take immediate steps to restore it,” said Sisir Dev Kalita, secretary general of Assam Chamber of Commerce.

“With no supply, price rise was inevitable. We expect the markets to be normal from Monday,” he added.

This apart, the morning also saw a severe cash crunch in the city. Long queues were seen outside the handful of ATMs that had some cash in them, and even these ran empty quickly. ATMs have not been replenished with cash for the past three days. To add to people’s misery, PoS machines have been rendered useless because of the suspension of mobile internet.

On Saturday, the State Bank of India deployed mobile ATM vans to provide some relief. “We will carry out this service on Sunday as well,” an SBI official said.

Fuel, too, was in short supply. Only a few petrol depots were open on Saturday and all had serpentine queues. The Kamrup (Metro) district authorities said the situation might improve soon as the North-East Petroleum Dealers’ Association had promised to open more petrol pumps.

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