Thiruvananthapuram: The prices of essential items have risen between 5 and 20 per cent in Kerala amid the nationwide lockdown, and these could further balloon by the time it ends on April 14.
According to a leading trader in the state capital, while the price of rice has gone up by 5 to 10 per cent, it is 20 per cent for pulses and other commodities.
"One reason is that most pulses come to the Tuticorin port in Tamil Nadu, from where the wholesalers collect and distribute it. Rice supplies mostly come to the southern districts directly from districts in and around Madurai," said the trader who did not wish to be identified.
Meanwhile, state government officials are visiting shops and supermarkets to check availability of essentials.
"They look at the price list boards in the shops and ask for the purchase bills in case of any doubts. Already cases have been registered against many shopkeepers who jacked up prices," said another trader.
Meanwhile, price rise in the coming days could be due to the fact that lorry drivers in neighbouring states have been asked to go into quarantine after dropping supplies in Kerala. So, not many drivers would be willing to drive to Kerala to deliver essentials.