Friday, January 27, 2023

Dampening effect

Christmas in Nagaland this year was very low key with less than the expected Christmas light decorations which shone in all their colourful brightness and sparkle to herald the coming of the world’s most popular celebration. Perhaps the most conspicuous absence besides Christmas decorations this year was that there was no Christmas carol singing. The Christmas hymn ‘Silent Night’ was an ode to the period of the birth of Jesus Christ. The hymn does not at all relate to or invoke total silence to celebrate the event. Looking from the point of view of people, it may be said that the less than normal decorations and lightings reflects a hangover of post-covid pandemic. Also on the other hand, when civic authorities did not issue any order for putting up Christmas lightings and decorations, it may have also been one of the factors. Globally, the post-covid impact has dented the people’s enthusiasm to celebrate. This has affected festivals and religious events in many parts of the world. The negative impact of the covid pandemic on the economy has also dampened the enthusiasm among the shopkeepers and traders including people. However, with regard to Nagaland, especially the much-hyped ‘commercial capital’ Dimapur; prices of various items in the market are becoming quite unreachable for the ordinary lower middle class income and worse for the economically weaker sections. By and large, most people begin to feel the pinch when they plan to celebrate if price of items in the market are expensive. Even before the lockdown pushed prices beyond the roof, prices of every item in the market has been witnessing steady rise, making essential commodities almost beyond reach of the lower section of society, food items outside the FPS are also rising sky high. The rise is particularly startling in non-vegetable items such as meat, fish or poultry products. A kilogram of pork that used to be sold at around Rs.180 has shot up to around Rs.300 per kilogram. One variety of fish that used to be sold at Rs.180-200 a kilogram is now being sold for around Rs.300 and above, while it differs from variety to variety. A two-kg live chicken that used to be sold for Rs.700-Rs.800 is now sold at Rs.1200-Rs.1500. Also people’s spending power comes only from one source- the government. If salaries of government employees in many departments are not paid not bills of many other contractors also withheld; it is also one reason why festive celebrations in Nagaland have been dampened. Issues of rising prices of every item in the market and reduced money circulation merit serious consideration. The common people who have to pay sky high prices will continue to suffer because no one is interested in protecting their rights. This is a grim scenario but it reveals the economic plight that continues to confront several thousand families in Nagaland who are left to grapple with day to day conditions. The meteoric rise in prices of food items does not augur well for the common people unless there is some serious action on the part of the government. When prices of commodities in Dimapur rise, they have a cascading and multiply effect on the prices in other districts.

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