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Nov 01 (LBO) – Sri Lanka™s consumer watchdog is stepping up raids in shops and supermarkets to weed our creative pricing and other offences, as Sri Lanka™s cost of living soars.

Consumer prices in Sri Lanka went up to 17.2 percent in October from 15.4 percent in September, driven upwards by higher prices of cigarettes, alcohol, eggs, rice, bread, wheat flour, certain types of vegetables, fresh fish and meat.

Under current policies there is no way to directly control prices, except for five essential items infant milk powder, cooking gas, matches, wheat flour and mosquito coils. For other items there are indirect ways to manage prices, a top official with the Authority, told LBO on Wednesday.

Those include weeding out price manipulation and other trading offences, which the CAA says is common among shops and supermarkets in large towns around the country.

All traders for example have to display an updated price list so consumers can compare and make a choice to buy where he can afford to.

Under the Consumer Affairs Authority Act of 2003, traders are required to mark the maximum retail price of 54 essential items, largely foods such as packag