Sops OK, but what about fuel price hike?
Dealers at Azadpur vegetable market say the petro price hike will negate the impact of sops offered to farmers, reports Jatin Anand.delhi Updated: Feb 27, 2010 01:45 IST
Despite its emphasis on controlling ‘double digit inflation’ and remedial measures to ease the burden on the Indian farmer, the Union Budget got a mixed reception at Delhi’s largest fruits and vegetables wholesale market on Friday.
Most dealers argued bureaucratic hurdles and the hike in ancillary services would make the sops redundant at the grass root level — as well as for the average Delhiite.
“Though the increase in subsidy and the Rs 300 crore package for farmers have the potential to breathe new life into the agricultural sector, most of it will be siphoned by intermediaries,” said Sunil Harjai (55), a fruit wholesaler.
Harjai said the measures, announced for both the consumers and producers, would not benefit them in the long run due to the hike in fuel prices.
Hike in diesel prices was another matter of concern.
“Transportation costs will end up adding to the price of fruits and vegetables in the city’s market, costing the average consumer a bit more than they should,” Harjai said.
“Provisions like increase in subsidy and decrease in interest rates for farmers are eyewash,” said Hariprasad Kumar (35), a tomato farmer from Meerut.
“They’re just on paper. Increased diesel prices will make farming more expensive for us so we will have to charge the consumer accordingly.”
Even consumers are worried. “I thought prices would go down after these new measures to help farmers were announced. But if transportation cost will keep prices static, what’s the use?” asked Vandita Gupta (45), a resident of Kashmere Gate.
Some, however, felt these steps were the need of the hour.
“This year has been very hard on the Indian farmer,” said Kishore Gurditta (51).