- Vendors in Okhla fruit and vegetable market say that the customers are now buying less
- The transportation cost has also been increased, a customer said
- Tomato that was selling for Rs 33.5 per kg last month is now selling at Rs 44.25, APMC chairman said
Vegetable prices have seen a surge in the Delhi-NCR region due to heavy rainfall and crop failure. Vendors in Okhla fruit and vegetable market say that the customers are now buying less due to an increase in prices. Sonu Pehlwan, a vegetable vendor, said, "With high fuel prices and rainfall, vegetable prices tend to rise. How will daily-wage workers buy tomatoes worth Rs 70/kg?"
The customers visiting the market also accepted that they are buying less and they are aware of the fact that the vegetable vendors are not at fault here for the increase in prices.
Deepak, a customer, said, "Our whole monthly budget has been disturbed. The transportation cost has also been increased. The rainfall has affected the crops due to which the vegetables are so costly."
Prices of vegetables, especially tomato and okra, have witnessed a sharp rise in the past month in the wholesale and retail markets in Delhi.
"Any surge in the price of diesel affects the price of vegetables and the same is happening now as well. So, the price of almost all green vegetables are more than what it was in the previous month," Adil Ahmad Khan, chairman of the Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) of Azadpur Mandi, said.
Tomato that was selling for Rs 33.5 per kg last month is now selling at Rs 44.25, while price of okra has increased to Rs 35 per kg from Rs 15 last month, he said.
"Besides the hike in diesel prices, the less supply of vegetables is also due to damage because of rains and the overwhelming demand of vegetables in the ongoing wedding season. These are also significant reasons behind price rise," Khan added.
Petrol in Delhi on Tuesday was Rs 103.97 per litre, while diesel was retailing at Rs 86.67 per litre.
The increase in prices is obviously more glaring in the retail and online market where customers have to shell out anything between Rs 90 to Rs 108 and Rs 100 to Rs 120 for one kg of tomato and okra, respectively.
Prices of other vegetables including pumpkin, cauliflower and ridge gourd have also seen a surge of late, making a dent in the budget of consumers like Vandana Thappa, a homemaker in Ramesh Nagar.
"Everyday you go out to buy vegetables the price is more than what it was yesterday. You try bargaining with the vendor, and he tells you that 'piche se hi mehnga aa raha hai' (getting it at an increased price from the wholesale market only)," she said.
"The kitchen budget of the poor and middle-class has been badly affected due to the present hike in vegetables prices. The least that the government can do is keep a check on the price of vegetables but then they just won't," said a visibly annoyed Thappa.
According to SP Gupta, former APMC chairman of Ghazipur Mandi, the skyrocketing vegetable prices will start showing some sign of easing next month with the arrival of new crops in the market.
"This time due to unseasonal rain and damaged crops there was little to no supply from neighbouring cities like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
The tomato that we are getting is coming from as far as Shivpruri in Madhya Pradesh or Shimla. In fact, our supply from Bangalore is also not coming through," he said.
"We'll start receiving our supply from all these states starting next month, which would hopefully help in lowering the inflated price of vegetables," Gupta explained.
(With inputs from agencies)