Cuttack/Bhubaneswar: The unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and the return of lockdown to cull the spread of the virus have hit the traders across the State hard.
With the restrictions are still in force, the small-scale retailers are staring at an uncertain future. As per the guidelines issued by the State government, the retailers can trade for six hours a day-from 6 am to 12 noon-across the State.
In the mean time, the traders have said doing business in this short span of trading hour is not possible as it becoming difficult for them to procure essentials from wholesale market and cater it in the local markets.
“It is becoming really tough to procure essential commodities from the wholesalers and sell them in the retail in the very short span of time. We have to stand in queue for hours to get things from the wholesaler,” said Balakrushna Patra, a retailer.
Echoing the same, Bijay Kumar Sahoo, another shopkeeper said, “If the some changes in the opening and closing of shops can be made then it will benefit us as well as customers. It will be helpful if the shop closing time can be extended to 2 pm from 12 noon.”
Meanwhile, the spiralling price of the many essential commodities during the lockdown is burning a hole in the pockets of consumers. The prices of edible oils have soared to Rs 5 to 10 per litre during the lockdown.
While, the mustard oil is being sold at Rs 180 or above per litre, price of sunflower oil hovers around Rs 170 and palmolein at Rs 135 per litre.
“The rate at which the prices of edible oil is soaring, it is becoming difficult for a middle-class family to make ends meet,” said a customer.
The traders association has attributed the surge in the prices to increase in the sources’ price.
“The edible oil price has increased due to increase in the price of sources. There is no connection of lockdown, shutdown with the price hike. All essential commodities are available in the market. So, I urge buyer not to do panic buying,” said Odisha Traders Association secretary Sudhakar Panda.