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VAT hike makes festival expensive
January, 16th 2012

This year, celebrating Pongal is going to be a costly affair with prices of all items going up. While the governments revision of VAT has enhanced the prices,? including that of oil, the prices of other edible products have also been raised by shopkeepers. Sugarcane is being sold at Rs 60 to 80 per pair, while jaggery is sold at Rs 40 per kg.? Non-vegetarians also have to shell out cash, as mutton is now selling at Rs 400 per kg and chicken at Rs 110 per kg. Fish is not available in the markets, but is being sold in small quantities on street corners: five? medium-sized sankara fish are being sold at Rs 150. People who have gone without fish for some time now are grabbing the fish irrespective of the high price.

Travelling is also going to be expensive after the hike in bus fare, and autorickshaws are charging higher rates as well. People who normally flock to the seaside during Pongal will have to pay more. The local buses are charging Rs 5 as minimum fare within town limits, while autorickshaws are charging Rs 100 from New Bus Stand to the beach. Those who are going to rural Puducherry have to shell out almost double the earlier fare, with Puducherry to Thirukkanur being Rs 10 as compared to `6 earlier.

It is going to be a simple affair for most families, however, after Cyclone Thane. Shopping for clothes has been low key even during the festive season. Power is yet to be restored in some areas. Those in rural south Puducherry? are busy putting up shelters and will limit Pongal to rituals. Monetary relief of Rs 2000 from the government to each family has given a boost to celebrations.

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