Soaring vegetable prices hit commoners

GUWAHATI, May 28 – Whether it is dispute on the border of Assam-Meghalaya, hike in the railway freight charges or the pre-monsoon rainfalls, vegetable market in Assam is bearing the brunt of all these resulting in an unprecedented price rise of fresh vegetables.

Whereas common people are badly hit by soaring vegetable prices, a strong need is being felt to launch an effecting price control mechanism, so that the unscrupulous traders cannot cheat people citing false reasons.

“The truth is that many factors have jointly affected the vegetable market this time and the traders are also suffering for this. Moreover, fresh vegetables cannot be stocked by the dealers for very long, thus the market prices are fluctuating rapidly,” said Brajen Das, a wholesale vegetable dealer of the city.

The tense situation in Lampi on Assam-Meghalaya border resulted into a shortage of vegetable supply in Guwahati for a few days. Though the situation has improved a little, the wholesale price of quality ginger from Mahim have increased to Rs 70-80 per kg. The wholesale price of good quality garlic is also around Rs 50-60 per kg.

As per the existing wholesale market rate of vegetables today, the price of per kg tomato is Rs 25, which is being sold in retail market at the rate of Rs 35 to Rs 45 per kg, depending on the variety, quality and also the location of the market. Now, tomatoes from Barabanki (UP) are being supplied in the State via Siliguri market. Cabbage, high in demand in food joints, big restaurants, etc., is selling at Rs 13-14 in wholesale market, whereas its price in retail is Rs 25 to 32. The round aubergine is Rs 15 per kg in wholesale and the retail price recorded in different markets varies from Rs 25 to Rs 35. “Though there is an increase in the market price of the vegetable, there are some markets, where vendors demand much higher prices, due to the lack of a price control mechanism,” Runmi Das, a housewife, mentioned.

The wholesale rate of bitter-gourd (tita kerela) is Rs 16-17 and the retail price is around Rs 26-32. The summer favourite cucumber is available in retail market at the rate of Rs 18-26 against a wholesale price of Rs 10-12. The ridge-gourd (jika) with a wholesale rate of Rs 14-15 is being sold at the rate of Rs 30-42 in retail. In Fancy Bazar wholesale vegetable market, the rate of the best quality pointed gourd (patal) is Rs 15-16, which is not less than 28-38 in retail. The teasel gourd (bhat kerela) selling Rs 20-22 in wholesale is more than Rs 50 at some retail markets. Similarly, green peas with at wholesale price of Rs 60 is selling anywhere between Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kg. The Asian string beans (lesera) are being sold in retail at the rate of Rs 24-35 against a wholesale price of Rs 15-16 per kg.

“In Guwahati, the condition is much better that some other parts of the State, where vegetables are supplied from Machhkhowa, Fancy Bazar and Bamunimadam wholesale markets through buses. In upper Assam, some of the vegetables are selling at a much higher rate,” mentioned Manjur Ali, a vegetable supplier.