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During our childhood, when elders at home talked about prices of essential commodities prevalent during their own childhood that they referred to as prone zamane (old times), our reaction would be of disbelief. Although their prone zamane was only 40 or 50 years backwards in time but the stories they told would bring it into our mind as an ancient age. By what they narrated, one got an idea that commodities were literally given away free. So cheap were their prices or so we thought. Imagine a sheep selling for half a rupee! A whole flock of 150 sheep was traded for Rs. 75 following the death in the family of the sole caretaker of the herd.

Going further down in time, incredible though it may sound prices of commodities were non-existent in Kashmir. Andrew Wingate who joined as Settlement Officer in the Valley in 1887, points this out in his preliminary report. His successor, Walter Lawrence, also observes that “money prices did not exist”. Salaries were paid in grain, including to the army and civil officials. Lawrence himself was asked to take oil-seeds in payment of his salary and that of his staff. Pertinently, oil-seeds were considered as an appreciated currency in comparison to maize and singhara-nuts which were regarded as a depreciated medium. Private individuals also paid wages of their domestic servants in grain. Silver played a subsidiary part in the business.

The coins, weights and measures prevalent in old Kashmir were different than those now in use. To give an idea of how these compared with the present metric system, 1 seer was equivalent to 0.93 kg, 1 maund to 37.32kg, 1 trak to 5 seer, 16 traks to 1 kharwar, 1 kharwar to 80 seer, 1 pound to 0.453 kg, 1 pao to ¼ of a seer, 1 chhatank to 1/8 of a seer and 1 tola to 10 gm. A gaz was equivalent to 0.91 meter. A rupee was made of 16 annas, and an anna of 4 paise.

Most of the trade in the bygone era was conducted through barter system. Till recently, buying commodities of daily use from a local shopkeeper against domestic produce like eggs or grain was a common practice in villages of Kashmir. Commodities exported were traded in value with those imported. Statistics of 1870-72 reveal that per maund cost of honey was Rs. 20, saffron (first quality) Rs. 800 and (second quality) Rs. 140, rice Rs. 5, moong (pulse) Rs. 8, barley Rs. 1.4, barley meal (sattu) Rs. 1.6, ghee Rs. 26, tobacco Rs. 20, paper Rs. 1, woolen sheets Rs. 5 and coloured blanket Rs. 5. A sword was sold at Rs. 10 and a gun and a horse at Rs. 40 each. Between 1887 and 1894, prices of village commodities had risen appreciably. The price of woolen blanket shot up from Rs. 3 to Rs. 4 and of walnut from Rs. 3 to Rs. 7 a kharwar. A rupee which earlier fetched 4 seers of ghee bought back 3 or 2.5 seers only. The price of a pony increased by Rs. 10 to Rs. 15, and that of a bullock showed a steady rise of one rupee per year. Likewise, wool earlier sold at 2 seers a rupee, fetched one and a half seer only.

At the dawn of the 20th century, Major Swinburn and his wife, Jane, were in Kashmir for 6 months and their expenses on food, wine, cigarettes and washing were £ 72.7 and on hire of boats, tents and equipment £ 17.6. In 1905, it may be recalled a Pound sterling was equivalent to 19.98 Indian rupees.

A look at the Annual Trade Reports from 1900 to 1923 throws up interesting figures with respect to the price of different commodities. In 1900, a maund of almonds was exported from Kashmir to Punjab at the rate of Rs. 20, potato at Rs. 2.50 and apples and pears at Rs. 5. A year earlier as well as a year later, a maund of rice was exported at the rate of Rs. 2, raw silk at Rs. 600 and raw wool including Pashm at Rs. 40. In 1902, export rate of a maund of raw cotton was Rs. 3.62, of cattle hides Rs. 18, of ghee Rs. 23.19 and of tobacco and snuff Rs. 33.94. In 1916-17, a maund of wheat was exported at the rate of Rs. 8 and pulses at Rs. 2.15. In 1922-23, a maund of walnut was exported at the rate Rs. 5.40 and ghee at Rs. 47.70.

As regards prices of staple food grains in 1911, the quantity per rupee by seer was wheat , barley 25, maize , moong , oil 2 and paddy . Next year, rice was sold 14 seers and gram
seers a rupee. A communication sent in 1918 by the Superintendent of Zenana Hospital, Srinagar, Ms. Kovanghan to the Governor of Kashmir tells us that rice was sold in Srinagar at Rs. 7 a maund and an equal weight of paddy at Rs. 2. The Hospital had purchased for its patients food grains from a private contractor but because of poor quality “the supply had to be thrown away”. Kovanghan then approached the Governor for supply of 100 kharwar of paddy.

Major Arthur Neve, Surgeon to the Kashmir Medical Mission, who lived in Kashmir for many years, published The Tourist’s Guide to Kashmir, Ladakh, Skardo &C in 1923 wherein he lists prices of food items prevalent in those days. He writes that in Srinagar prices tend to rise in summer season and because of scarcity many articles are expensive in winter. According to him good mutton was usually sold about seer a rupee. “In the Districts”, he writes, “if a sheep is killed, the meat might be taken at 5 seers a rupee.” A good sized fowl was sold at a rupee and small sized ones two at a rupee. The price of a duck in the city was 8 annas in winter and 12 annas to a rupee in summer. A goose was sold at Rs. 2 to 3. Fish was available at 4 to 6 annas a seer. The price of eggs varied from season to season and when plentiful, these were sold 6 to 8 annas a dozen. A rupee would fetch 6 seers of milk in the city and 10 seers in the higher grazing grounds. Local vegetables like turnips, carrots, vegetable marrows, tomatoes and peas were “very cheap”. The English kind vegetables were sold “8 to 10 annas a dali [basket] from the public garden near the [SPS] Library.” Potatoes were sold 16 seers a rupee or more in the places they were grown in summer.

The prices of local fruit were less than those of the European variety and were sold at higher prices at Gulmarg than in the city. Kashmiri apples were sold at Re. 1.8 per 100 while the best European was available at 4 to 7 annas a dozen. The local pears were sold at 8 to 10 annas per 100, melons 6 to 10 annas each, depending on the size and season, grapes 6 to 10 annas a seer, apricots and peaches 4 annas a seer, cherries 8 to 12 annas a seer and raspberries 4 to 8 annas a seer. In the food grains, rice (basmati) was sold 3 to 4 seers a rupee, white rice 7 seers a rupee, wheat 8 to 10 seers a rupee, atta 6 seers a rupee, barley 12 to 14 seers a rupee, dal (pulses) 5 seers a rupee. Ghee was sold to seer a rupee, butter (table) Re. 1.8 per lb and (cooking) Re. 1 per lb, raisins 1 seer a rupee, currants to 1 seer a rupee, country oil 2 seers a rupee and sweet oil 1 seer rupee. Bread was sold 8 loaves a rupee while the same amount would fetch 32 Pampori rotis. A bag of 5 seers of sugar was sold at Rs. 3 to four, depending on the quality while the rates constantly fluctuated. If purchased in bulk, sugar was available at 10 annas a seer. The No. 1 quality kerosene oil was sold at Rs. 15 per box of 2 tins and No. 2 at Rs. 13. Neve also acquaints us with the rate of tinning of kitchen utensils which cost 1 to 2 annas each utensil. A houseboat could be rented for Rs. 40 a month exclusive of boatman to Rs. 600 for the season. Two maunds of firewood were sold at 1 rupee. The list of official rates of commodities was posted in the Library verandah at Srinagar and changed fortnightly in the season.

The 1931-born Ghulam Muhammad Bhat recalls that during his childhood a seer of rice was sold at 1 rupee, mutton at 8 annas, and onion and potato 1 anna each. People generally lived from hand to mouth. Once, Bhat reminisces, he went to Mahda Joo, a vegetable seller of his locality, for purchase of onions and potatoes for an anna each, the shopkeeper asked him, “Tohi kya az padshah mizaj heiu?” (How come you are in royal mood today?)

In 1939, the Kashmir Government invited tenders for supply of food items for frontier areas. In response, Amir Lone of Gurais (misspelled and mispronounced as Gurez) offered the lowest rates at potatoes 16 seers a rupee, flour 10 seers a rupee, poultry (large) 10 annas and 9 paise a bird, poultry (ordinary) 5 ananas and 6 paise a bird, eggs 3 annas and 3 paise a dozen, and mutton 8 annas a seer.

To calm down anti-India feelings that had peaked in Kashmir after Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s unceremonious overthrow as Prime Minister in 1953, the Government supplied food grains to consumers on subsidized rates. Up to 30 June 1959, rice, wheat and maize were provided at 3 seers a rupee. On 1 July, the rate was changed to 2½ seers a rupee. The rate of paddy was increased from Rs. 12 to Rs. 16 a kharwar.

From Travel Guide to Kashmir published in 1955, we get a fair idea of market prices of different articles during mid-1950s. Depending on the quality, rice was sold at Rs. 12 to Rs. 20 per maund, atta at Rs. 8 to Rs. 10 per seer and sugar at Re. 1 to Re. 1.8 per seer. A seer each of mutton, fish and milk was sold at Rs. 2.4 to Rs. 2.12, Rs. 1 to Rs. 2 and annas 8 to 12, respectively. A fowl was sold at Rs. 2 to Rs. 4 depending on the size, a duck at Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 and a goose at Rs. 6 to 8. A seer of and salt cost annas 3 and paise 6 to annas 4. A seer of tomato was sold at annas 4 to 6, peas green annas 8 to 12, turnip annas 2 to 4, cabbages annas 4 to 8, saag annas, brinjals and beans annas 4 each, cauliflower annas 8 to 12, green chili annas 5 to 8, onons annas 4 to 8, potato annas 3 to 6, and radish annas 3 to 6. The per seer price of fruit was apples (Ambri) Rs. 1 to 2, pears annas 12 to Re. 1, melons annas 8 to 12, apricots (green) annas 12 and grapes Re. 1 to Re. 1.8. A seer of butter was sold at Rs. 3 and a seer of moong dal at annas 6 t0 9. A gallon of petrol cost 3 rupees, 14 annas and 6 paise. Big size bread (double-roti) was sold at annas 8 and small size annas 6. A pound of biscuits of sorts and pastry was sold at Rs. 2 each and cake plain and ice-cake Rs. 2.4 each. A seer of country-oil was sold at Rs. 2.

When one looks back at prices of commodities during one’s own childhood which would mean 1960s, the feeling of disbelief is no less. It seems unbelievable that in 1963 a liter of petrol was sold at 72 paise. Likewise, in 1971, a masala dosa (popular south-Indian food) cost 50 paise and a cup of coffee 50 paise.

Recently, I dug out a note book and some loose papers of my late father, Muhammad Ahssan Bhat (d. 7 July 1969) who had this good habit of writing down expenditure, especially incurred on special occasions like Eid and marriages in the family. The notes are very important in so far as these provide enough clues on market prices in Kashmir during 1960s. Here is what I found out:

In 1963, when we purchased timber for reconstruction of our house, the per cubic feet of deodar (cider) was sold at Rs. 7 and annas 8, kairoo (pine) at Rs. 6 and annas 2 and budloo (fir) at Rs. 4 and annas 4. To give an idea about water transportation charges, 170 cubic feet of timber was transported from Barbar Shah Ghat upstream to Sonawar Ghat on labour charges of Rs. 20. The sawing charges of a log of 74 cft kail were Rs. 37. Fired bricks of first grade quality were available at Rs. 92 per thousand. According to a receipt issued on 3 September 1963 and signed by Syed Abdur Rashid Qadri, Munshi (clerk) at brick kiln of Haji Sidiq Mir Lasjan, Rs. 736 were charged for supply of “8000 khisht ha rekhta darja-e-awwal”.

During those times when LPG and induction heaters were unknown and power heaters were used by only a small section of population, firewood was the main source of fuel used to light up a hearth locally known as daan, for cooking food. A maund of hatab was sold at Rs. 4 and willow at Rs. 2.50. The walnut wood, used to warm up hamams, cost Rs. 3 a maund.

In 1966, a tola of gold cost Rs. 170 and making charges were Rs. 6 per tola. A Pashmina Dussa (long male shawl) cost Rs. 372.50. A Roamer wrist watch cost Rs. 135, a gaz of Shaneel (velvet) Rs. 12, a suit length of Kashmir cloth Rs. 6o, of Kanjivaram and Wash-n-Wear Rs. 75 each. Sangam was available at Rs. 9 a meter, Plush Rs. 18.37 and Crepe plain Rs.4. A gaz of Khaddar was sold at Rs. 2, Night Cloth at Rs. 2.5 and Poplin Rs. 1.60. A Banarasi dupatta cost at Rs. 35. The sewing charges of a lady’s suit of Kashmir cloth were Rs. 5 and of a silken suit Rs. 3.50. For a pheran, the stitching charges were Rs. 1.50. A woolen cap (Jagar) cost Rs. 7 and annas 8.

A tola of saffron was sold at Rs. 20. A seer of milk and curd cost Rs. 1 and annas 6, and Rs. 1 and annas 10, respectively. A seer of red chili powder cost Rs. 3, turmeric powder Rs. 2.70, suji (semolina) Rs. 1, onion 50 paise, sugar Rs. 1.6, garlic 50 paise, cinnamon Rs. 16, and clove, dry ginger and cooking oil Rs. 4 each. A chhatank of zeerah (cumin) was sold at Rs. 2 and annas 8 and a pao of raisins for Rs. 2.5. Mutton, desi fowl and fish cost Rs. 5, Rs. 5.25, and annas 12 a seer each, respectively. A fat duck was bought for Rs. 8, a bundle of nadru (lotus stem) for Rs. 1 and annas 4, and a seer of tobacco for Rs.2.50.

Copper utensils were popular for cooking and serving food. A Thale Baan weighing 950 gram cost Rs. 21, a Tooer weighing a kilogram Rs. 14, a small size Tooer Rs. 4 and annas 2, Trae’m (large plate in which food is served to 4 people) Rs. 22, Naer (water jug) Rs. 17, Deechiwaer (cooking vessel) Rs. 40 and a spoon Rs. 1.50. A ceramic tea-set was purchased at Rs. 20, a cup at 90 paise, a fountain pen at Rs. 2.25 and jute-mat at Rs. 9 a gaz.

In 1967, a Kashmiri tchot and tchchwor (kinds of bread eaten with tea in the morning and afternoon, respectively) was sold at 5 paise (small size) and 10 paise (big size) each, respectively. A puff, a rough cake, a pastry and a queen cake cost 20 paise each. One pound of plain cake cost Rs. 2.50. In 1968, the queen cake was dearer by 5 paise.

In 1969, a seer of mutton was sold at Rs. 6 and potatoes 50 paise. In 1970, a kilogram of cooking oil (then measured by kg not liter) was sold at Rs. 5.25, tea leaves (salt tea) at Rs. 10, turmeric powder at Rs. 7, Dalda ghee at Rs. 6.50, sonth (dry ginger powder) at Rs. 8 and badyan (fennel seed) at Rs. 7. A packet of Glucose-D (250 gm) cost Rs. 1.10. By mid-1970s, a kg of mutton was sold at Rs. 14 and sugar at Rs. 3 and annas 10. Wild onion (Pran) cost Rs. 4 a kg.

On special occasions like marriage, an economically modest family would give the bride or the bridegroom guli myooth or vartaav (gift money) anywhere between Re. 1 to Rs.20. Children would receive an anna or duaani (two annas) as eidi on the festival of Eid. On one such occasion, I recall, my cousin had got a duaani but, as ill luck would have it, the coin fell into a drain full of sludge. Sadly, for both of us the auspicious day passed in futile search of the coin.

Now, let us have a look at the modes of transport and passenger fares prevalent during old times. Al-Beruni (973-1050 AD) writes that “the inhabitants of Kashmir are pedestrians, they have no riding animals nor elephants. The noble among them ride in palankins [palanquins], called katt [khaat], carried on the shoulders of men”. Al-Beruni’s account may not be the whole truth for the fact that elephant fossils of prehistoric era have been discovered in Kashmir in 1931 and 2000. It is possible that the animal specie had disappeared in the event of some topographic and, the resultant, climatic change. Water transport, however, was known to ancient Kashmir. A 12th century narrative informs us of “the coming and going of ships [on the Vitasta that] gave splendour to the river”. In the medieval Kashmir, however, we know of the river being used as a prime mode for transportation of goods and people. Zainul Aabideen is known to have taken boat rides and Mughal king Akbar has visited places travelling on the Jhelum in a boat. To Frederic Drew the Jhelum was “the great highway of Kashmir” and “much used for navigation.”

During 1890s, a living boat (doonga) with crew of 4 persons was available on a monthly rent of Rs. 20, a kitchen boat with crew of 3 men on Rs. 15 and a ferry boat (shikara) with crew of one person on Re.1. If the boats were taken out of Srinagar then ration money at the rate of annas 4 per crewman per month was payable. River travel from Srinagar to Baramulla in an A-class boat would cost annas 8, to Islamabad annas 10, and to Awantipore annas 6. Boat travel from Srinagar to Ganderbal and Bandipore cost Rs. 1 and annas 4, and Rs. 2, respectively.

Travel between Kashmir and British India, was undertaken on the Jhelum Valley Road popularly known as the Srinagar-Rawalpindi Road – inaugurated in 1890 – first through ekkas and tongas and, later, through lorries and motor cars. A Mail Tonga from Srinagar to Murree charged Rs. 37, a Special Tonga for 3 passengers Rs. 110 and a Special family Tonga for 3 adults and 2 children Rs. 145. A Phaeton for 3 passengers and 12 seer luggage charged Rs. 175. An ekka was hired on Rs. 18. The fare in all cases was exclusive of toll.

For travel by bus, lorry or car, passenger fare varied from season to season, up journey and down journey and one mode of transport to another. During 1930s, between April and July, the per passenger bus and lorry fare from Srinagar to Rawalpindi was Rs. 3 to Rs. 5 and from Rawalpindi to Srinagar Rs. 7 to Rs. 10. Between August and November, the fare for up journey remained the same while for down journey it was Rs. 5 to 8. A full bus or a lorry charged Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 from Srinagar to Rawalpindi and Rs. 115 to Rs. 120 in the reverse direction, between August and November. In a shared motor car, per seat was charged at Rs. 5 to Rs. 6 from Srinagar to Rawalpindi between April and July and Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 between August and November. From Rawalpindi to Srinagar, the charges were Rs. 20 to Rs. 25 and Rs. 15 to Rs. 20, respectively. A full motor car charged Rs. 10 to Rs. 15 from Srinagar to Rawalpindi between April and July, and Rs. 40 to Rs. 45 between August and November. For up journey, the full motor car charges were Rs. 60 to Rs. 70 between April and July and Rs. 50 to Rs. 60 between August and November. Earlier, in 1922, Chaman Motor Car Service charged Rs. 34 and annas 10 per passenger from Rawalpindi to Srinagar.

Prior to 1947, bus fare between Muzaffarabad and Srinagar was “twelve annas, which was later increased to one rupee.” Among different bus services plying on the route, the prominent were the Nanda Bus Service and the Allied Chirag Din. There were separate seats for men and women although married couples were allowed to sit together.

The Jhelum Valley Road was closed in the aftermath of armed hostilities over Kashmir between India and Pakistan in 1947. However, six decades later on 7 April 2005, the road was reopened for the divided Kashmiri families living on the either side of Line of Control (LoC), and some limited trade.

During mid 1950s, three types of tongas – 1st class, 2nd class and 3rd class- were used to ferry passengers in Srinagar whose rates for full day of 9 hours was Rs. 10, Rs. 7 and Rs. 5, respectively, and for half day of 5 hours Rs. 5, Rs. 3.8 and Rs. 2.8, respectively. A 1st and 2nd class tonga carried 4 passengers and a 3rd class 3 passengers. A full tonga for Cheshma Shahi and back was hired for Rs. 4 (1st class), Rs. 3 (2nd class) and Rs. 2 (3rd class). The hire-rates for Nishat and back were Rs. 5.4, Rs. 4 and Rs. 3, respectively, for Shalimar Rs. 6.8, Rs. 4.8 and Rs. 3.8, respectively, for Harwan and back Rs. 7, Rs. 6 and Rs. 5, respectively, and for Naseem Bagh, Nigeen and Hazratbal and back Rs. 4, Rs. 3 and Rs. 2, respectively. Within the city, for all stations including Zaina Kadal, Rainawari, Maidanpora, Rajouri Kadal, Chhatabal and Batwara the hire-rate was annas 4 for 1st and 2nd class tonga and annas 3 for 3rd class tonga. From Maisuma to Rainawari (via Munawarabad), Rambagh and Bagat Barzula the hire-rate for 1st and 2nd class tongas was annas 4 each.

The Government Transport Department-run passenger buses charged Re. 1 per seat each from Srinagar to Shopian, Anantnag, Sopore and Baramulla, Rs. 1.4 to Bandipore, Handwara and Kulgam, Rs. 1.8 to Kupwara and Rs. 1. 12 to Uri. A regular ‘City Bus Service’ was plying in Srinagar city and Cantonment area from different places at the rate of annas 2 per seat.

Regular bus services to tourist destinations were also operated. For a return trip to Mughal Gardens in Srinagar, Rs. 2.8 was charged per seat, for Pahalgam Rs. 5 per single seat and Rs. 8 per return seat, for Verinag via Achhabal Rs. 10 per return seat, for Sonamarg Rs. 8 per return seat and for Tangmarg Rs. 2 per single seat and Rs. 3.8 per return seat. During those years, journey for 4 miles from Tangmarg to Gulmarg was covered by ponies.

During 1970s, the per passenger fare from Lal Chowk -the city center- to different destinations like Zainakadal, Nawa Kadal, Safa Kadal, Rainawari and Batwara was 20 paise, and to Sonawar 15 paise. From mid-1970s – when Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah returned to power and revised passenger fare structure – to 1980, the per seat bus fare from Srinagar to Baramulla was Rs. 2.30, Sopore Rs. 2.20, Handwara Rs. 3.30, Tangmarg Rs. 1.75, Kupwara Rs. 3.90, Sumbal Rs. 1.25, Bandipora Rs. 2.45, Budgam Rs. 0.50, Tsar-i-Sharief Rs. 1.40, Ganderbal Re. 1, Kangan Rs. 1.75, Sonamarg Rs. 4. 20, Tral Rs. 1.75, Anantnag Rs. 2.45, Pahalgam Rs. 4.55, Pulwama Rs. 1.45, Kulgam Rs. 3.20, Khrew Re. 1, Pakherpora Rs. 2, Uri Rs. 4.05 and Khag Rs. 1.80. The per passenger fare from Srinagar to Jammu was Rs. 28.50 for A-Class, and Rs. 22 for B-Class buses, and from Srinagar to Leh Rs. 65 and Rs. 48.50, respectively. The B-Class bus fare for Kargil was Rs. 23.50, Doda Rs. 16, Bhaderwah Rs. 18.50, Reasi Rs. 22.50 and Ramban Rs. 12.50. As regards tourist destinations, the return A-Class and Super Deluxe bus fares for Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Aharbal and Sonamarg were Rs. 20.5o and Rs. 23, respectively. A return trip to the Mughal Gardens by A-Class and Super Deluxe was charged at Rs. 8 and Rs. 9.50 per seat, respectively. In January 1981, passenger fares were revised and marginally increased. During early 1980s, air-fare from Srinagar to Jammu was Rs. 330 and from Srinagar to Leh Rs. 335.

TAILPIECE: We live in times when the Government has willfully abdicated its responsibility of controlling prices except for occasionally issuing price lists of essential commodities which carry no more than archival value. Any consumer item of same quality is sold at different prices in different pockets of the city or, worse, at different shops in the same market. For an item of same quality, a departmental store will charge you much higher than a nearby grocer. To give an idea of how food items mentioned in the preceding cost today, one may quote per kilogram prices obtained from a south Srinagar city grocer. Honey sells at Rs. 750, rice (China) Rs. 30, potato Rs. 25, onion Rs. 30, mutton Rs. 440, Dalda ghee Rs. 120, walnut Rs. 300, poultry Rs. 120, ginger powder Rs. 600, fennel seeds Rs. 100, red chili powder Rs. 280, semolina Rs. 80, sugar Rs. 50, pepper Rs. 20 (12 gm), ginger Rs. 140, turmeric powder Rs. 230 and moong Rs. 120. A bundle of nadru sells at Rs. 400 and a dozen of eggs at Rs. 60. A liter of milk costs Rs. 40, curd Rs. 120, mustard oil Rs. 140 and petrol Rs. 77.96 (as on 24 November 2018). A Pashmina dussa costs anything between Rs. 15,000 and Rs. 20,000. A tola of saffron is sold at Rs. 2,000 and gold at Rs. 31,000. A cup of coffee sells at Rs. 120 and a masala dosa at Rs. 150.

A cubic feet of deodar, pine and fir is sold at Rs. 2800, Rs. 1800 and Rs. 800, respectively. A truckload of A-grade bricks (2000 pieces) costs Rs. 14,000. A quintal of walnut wood sells at Rs. 900.

While more swift, and costlier, modes of transport are available today, the per passenger bus fare for Baramulla, Sopore, Bandipora, Kupwara, Handwara, Budgam, Pulwama and Annatnag is Rs. 52, Rs. 48, Rs. 55, Rs. 87, Rs. 74, Rs. 11, Rs. 37 and Rs. 60, respectively. The per passenger to and fro bus fare between Srinagar and Muzaffarabd is about Rs. 3377 INR which includes Rs. 1560 INR between Srinagar and Kaman Post (zero point on LoC) and Rs. 1000 PKR between Kaman Post and Muzaffarabad.

Khalid Bashir Ahmad is a Srinagar based author and columnist. His two recent books titled ‘KASHMIR: Exposing the Myth Behind the Narrative’, and ‘KASHMIR: A Walk Through History’ underscore the need for a relook at Kashmir Narrative.

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