Prices soar as stocks dwindle in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 January 2007, 12:24 GMT]
Prices of essentials such as fuel, food, medicine and other agricultural products have sky-rocketed in the Jaffna peninsula as remaining stocks have dwindled, despite assurances given by Maj. Gen. Chandarasiri Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Commander for Jaffna, to the Government Agent (GA) Jaffna Saturday at a meeting held in Kankesanthurai that there is sufficient stock of food and fuel, and that arrangements are being made to distribute them to residents across Jaffna, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Colombo merely echos the announcement of the SLA to create a false impression of normalcy in the Jaffna peninsula, while the residents and farmers here pay exorbitant prices for the essential food and fuel, civil society sources in Jaffna added.

Gas station owners in the peninsula complained that their stations have not been supplied with fuel for the last three weeks causing black market prices to soar.

Petrol and kerosene sold at Rs. 100 and Rs. 52 per litre sells in the open market at Rs. 200 to 250, while rice sold at 35 rupees per kg sells Rs. 200. Sugar which is normally sold at 65 rupees per kg sells 260 rupees. Coconut oil per bottle normally sold at 130 rupees per liter now sells 1300 rupees.

Salt, soap and panadol tablets are also being sold at 5 to 10 times the normal prices.

Local agriculture, entirely dependent on ground water, is badly affected as kerosene needed for the water pumps has become scarce and its price no longer affordable to farmers.

Civil society sources said that until concerted and genuine effort is made to allow goods to flow freely into Jaffna peninsula, the prices are unlikely to come down.


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