Tea doesn't taste sweet anymore in Gujarat

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Rajkot (Gujarat), Feb3 (ANI): With an increase in the price of milk and sugar in Gujarat state, even an ordinary cup of tea appears to have gone beyond the reach of common man here.

The two rupees hike in the price of milk has affected the tea business in Rajkot city. There are around 6,000 big and small beverage stalls here alone.

Sugar prices in retail market nearly doubled last year, as sugarcane production has been affected for two consecutive years.

Local people say they have been badly affected by the high price of tea and many of them believe that they now have to think twice about their daily tea consumption.

"See, prices of milk and tea have witnessed a constant rise; sugar prices are also on the rise. In the wake of that, tea, which earlier was priced at rupees four or five per half cup, is available at rupees six or seven. So we can say that the tea has turned sour," Rajesh Patel, a customer said.

"I have been coming here to this tea stall for the last seven-eight years, when the tea was priced at rupees three. But after the rise in prices of all milk, tea and sugar, now I have to think twice before frequently coming here," said Kunal Bhatti, another customer.

Sugar, in particular, has been a problem, with the Union Government caught in the middle of competing demands from consumers who want lower prices while cane farmers seek higher prices for their produce.

The supply situation deteriorated further in recent months when Uttar Pradesh state, seeking to help cane farmers, banned processing raw sugar, jamming 750,000 tons of raw sugar at ports.

The Centre has now allowed millers to process the raw sugar in other states, which analysts said would ease the supply crunch. By Suresh Soni (ANI)

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