Prices of tomatoes, the essential vegetable that adds tanginess to our diet, has increased 50% over the past week to be selling at `60 per kg. Other essential staples of the kitchen have also seen an increase of around 20%, with potatoes available at `35 per kg against last week's price of around `25 per kg. Onions is also available at `40 per kg, even as traders claim that during this season, its prices usually hover around `25 per kg.
Several reasons are being advanced for the increase in prices. Poor monsoon and hoarding by vegetable vendors are being cited. However, vendors at the Sector 26 market claim that heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh and the scanty rainfall in some Southern parts of the country had affected supply, pushing up the prices.
Vijay Kumar, a vendor in the sector 26 vegetable market said, "The supply of tomatoes has been the worst-hit. We are getting only a limited supply of tomatoes due to lower production than last year and with weather vagaries, some stock also gets spoilt. All this has led to the hike in prices."
He added that this was the peak supply season for tomatoes, but because of heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh they had been getting less than the required quantity. Jitender, another trader, said: "In monsoon, the supplies are usually hit."
Officials with the UT administration claim that steps have taken to check been hoarding and the deputy commissioner had been conducting raids in the market.
The administration's mobile vans scheme had received a good response and soon special carts and stalls would be set up to sell onions and tomatoes at a no-profit-no-loss basis, an official said.