|High vegetable prices hit consumers hard|
GUWAHATI, Aug 21 - The unprecedented rise in vegetable prices has created a crisis situation for both the consumers and petty traders with the markets feeling the direct heat of the phenomenon.
A vegetable market in Guwahati on Monday. – UB Photos
Those who are ready to pay by the nose for fresh vegetables are also not getting a fair deal of their choice as the floods and disrupted rail link have put a limit to their option of choosing from the fresh green veggies, specially those coming from West Bengal and Bihar by train.
“It is a situation far graver than the usual price rise during the late summer period. Not just the consumers, even the small traders like us are in trouble as not all can afford to buy tomatoes at Rs 80-Rs 90 a kilogram and French bean at Rs 100. We are bringing lesser quantities from the bulk traders as the sale is unpredictable,” said Manik Rabha, a vegetable vendor-on-bicycle who sells his stuff in Lachit Nagar-Bhangagarh area.
Rabha’s basket, otherwise vibrant with the colourful veggies, bunches of green leaves and potato-onion, now looks lifeless and the bag containing additional supplies is also missing. Similar is the case with many of his ilk.
Although vegetable rates generally show an upward trend during this time of the year, this time the rise in prices has been unprecedented due to the devastating floods and the situation aftermath.
From Rs 40 per kg nearly 15 days back, the price of lady’s finger has shot up to Rs 70 in the retail market. Similarly, ridged gourd is being sold at Rs 50 per kg and pointed gourd and string bean at Rs 60 per kg.
At Rs 20 per kg, the humble potato is now selling at double the price it was selling nearly a month back. After showing an upward curve, onions are now stable at Rs 40-Rs 45 per kg.
There are some other vegetables securing their position in the ‘premium’ category with their rate per kilogram hitting a ton. Those loving a generous helping of shredded carrots, bean and capsicum will have to wait for the price scenario to normalise as all the three vegetables have crossed Rs 100, capsicum being the costliest at Rs 120-Rs 130 per kg.
Cauliflower, which is now in the market to break the monotony of summer season veggies, is being sold at Rs 150-Rs 190 per kg.
Vegetable supply at the Fancy Bazar wholesale market has also been affected due to the ongoing situation.
The wholesale rate of lady finger in Guwahati is Rs 40, that of pointed gourd is Rs 45, ridged gourd is Rs 35 and that of carrot is Rs 45-Rs 55. Cauliflower is selling for Rs 70-Rs 80 per kg in the wholesale market, while string bean is selling for Rs 30-Rs 35, brinjal for Rs 25-Rs 30 and tomato is selling for Rs 55 per kg.
“We are totally dependent now on the fresh vegetable supplies from Lalpur, Kharupetia and Shillong. Due to the absence of rail services from the 13th of this month, supply of lady’s finger, brinjal, pointed gourd, green chillies, capsicum, etc., coming from parts of West Bengal and Katihar and Khagaria in Bihar has stopped,” Uday Narayan, a bulk trader of Fancy Bazar said.