With the mounting price of refilled cooking gas cylinder in the black market and charcoal being a substitute has pushed up the demand of charcoal in this winter season bringing about a tremendous rise in price of charcoal.
The cutting off of the two life lines in Manipur due to the United Naga Council’s prolonged economic blockade has brought about the scarcities of essential commodities so as the daily’s necessary cooking gas cylinders. The price of a refilled cooking gas has risen at the range of Rs. 1800 to 2200 in the black market which has increase the demand of its substitute charcoal. The price of charcoal has risen at the range Rs. 500 to Rs. 700 per bag which was normally sold at the rate of Rs. 350 per bag.
Most of the charcoal products have been transported from various corners of Manipur—Churachandpur, Sajik Tampak, Chandel, Ukhrul, Khamenlok etc. Due to the blockade and the counter economic blockade chaos the supply of charcoal towards the valley has been irregular while the demand for it increases.
“There is no charcoal at home, we can’t afford the prevailing price and have to sit tight with thick clothes this winter. Something should be done for aged people like us to rid the chilly cold season” said an old woman, A. Ibemcha to Pothashang. Even if use of electric room heaters is increasing the poor are unable to accommodate one and rely on local hearth, Meiphu.
One can see the charcoal vendors piling very less charcoal at their stock apartment and few mobile charcoal mongers are seen this season. “Our business goes down this season as very less people except the price of the charcoal we are selling. We get less supply of charcoal to market. It is also told that as there is restriction of cutting down of trees, burning for charcoal has been reduced these days”, said a mobile charcoal vendor.
In the state charcoal is used by dry cleaners and local hot tea vendors. The dry cleaners and the local tea sellers face difficulties in running their business.
“We don’t know what to do with limited means to living” said a house wife who also runs a local tea stall at her resident premise in Imphal.