GUWAHATI, July 5 – Soaring prices of fresh vegetables in the local markets have irked the common people, who want the State Government to introduce a price control mechanism in the city reducing the huge gap between the prices quoted by the farmers and the cost paid by the consumers.
Affected by incessant rainfall and floods, the prices of fresh vegetables have gone up in past a few weeks at the source. On the other hand, taking the advantage of the adverse weather conditions, the retailers are charging very high prices from the consumers in almost all the markets of Guwahati.
“Vegetables are among the basic essential commodities without which a kitchen cannot run. That is why a consumer is left with no other option but to pay the price fixed by the traders. Bargaining is gradually becoming a thing of the past. In such circumstances, the Government and the district authorities should intervene and control the unabated price hike by the retailers,” Ashim Dutta, a resident of Silpukhuri said.
“Heavy rainfall for past several weeks has destroyed the crops triggering a price rise at the source. Moreover, floods in the lower Assam areas including Nalbari and Barpeta have affected the supply of vegetables in the markets of Guwahati,” a wholesale vegetable trader at Fancy Bazar said.
A comparison between the wholesale vegetable price at Fancy Bazar and the retail rates at different markets of Guwahati shows that the consumers are being charged double the prevailing wholesale rates.
Recently, the prices of green chillies have gone up like never before. In Chandmari market, vendors are charging Rs 160 per 1 kg, whereas the wholesale rate of green chillies at Fancy Bazar is Rs 90 per kg. Against its bulk price of Rs 12 per kg, summer favourite cucumber is selling between Rs 25 to 35 at Chandmari and Silpukhuri markets of Guwahati. Another summer special vegetable ridged gourd locally known as jika is available at the rate of Rs 40 per kg at Ulubari market, Rs 50 at Chandmari and Rs 40-45 at Silpukhuri against its wholesale rate of Rs 20-25. Wholesale rate of pointed gourd or patal, ladyfinger and brinjal is around Rs 20-25 and the retail rate is more than Rs 40 at most of the vegetable markets. Pumpkin’s bulk price is Rs 15 per kg, whereas bottle gourd is selling at a wholesale rate of Rs 25-30 per kg at Fancy Bazar market. In comparison, the retail rates of all these vegetables are much higher in the local markets.
Against its wholesale rate of Rs 60 per kg, carrot is selling at a price of Rs 100-120 in the retail markets. Similarly, the retail rate of French beans in retail markets is between Rs 80 to 100, almost double in comparison to its wholesale rates. Price of teasel gourd or bhat kerela is around Rs 20-22 in wholesale and around Rs 40-50 in retail.
“It is natural that the retailers would charge higher than the wholesalers incorporating their transportation cost and profit margins etc. But it is unjustifiable to charge double rates. Moreover, since the major wholesale markets are located in and around Guwahati, the transportation cost within the city would also be less,” Dharani Nath a local of Ulubari said.