The effect of untimely downpour across India in the last ten days is reflecting on the vegetable prices in the Capital.
Prices of most vegetables have shot up. The jump has been anywhere between 30 per cent and 100 per cent at the wholesale market.
Capsicum, which ideally sells for Rs 40 per kilogram at the mandi, is commanding a price of Rs 100 per kg because rain and subsequent landslides have prevented trucks from getting fresh stocks from Shimla to the city.
Tomato, which usually sells for Rs 350 per crate (23 kilograms), touched a never-before price of Rs 700 per crate in the past week.
It finally settled for Rs 500 this Thursday after flash floods in Nashik and Ratlam in Maharashtra and in parts of Haryana destroyed yields.
“The worst-hit is green peas, which just vanished from the market,” said Jai Krishan Saini, one of the largest wholesalers at Azadpur mandi, the city’s vegetable hub.
Saini said there have been no fresh arrivals of green peas in Delhi the whole week, which is an unprecedented event. “Three trucks from Shimla are supposed to arrive tonight. But the prices have increased by 100 per cent to reach 110 per kilogram,” he said.
Vegetables like potato too have become costlier because its demand has shot up over the last one week, traders said.
“When all vegetables cost more, people try to use more potato as substitute,” said Sailesh Kumar, another trader.
What has added to the woes is that Delhi’s fallback options have also not worked out this year.
“When rainfall in Sonepat and Meerut destroy yields, we expect places like Ajmer and Chomo in Rajasthan to fill the gap. But Chomo too was flooded while drought wiped out crops in some other parts of Rajasthan and upset the calculations,” said Rajkumar Bhatia, general secretary at Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) in Azadpur.
As usual, customers are helpless.
“If this goes on, we will have to reinvent the way we eat. There seems to be no respite from price-rise,” said Kavita Nagpal, housewife in Kalkaji.
“There is no information or warnings from the government and there is transparency in the way prices are determined in the markets,” said Krishna Kumar, a resident of Safdarjung Enclave.
The APMC, a government-controlled body, has failed to do much in containing this emergency, admitted Rajkumar Bhatia. “The committee has not provided any database of real-time information to the farmers and traders to warn them or help them,” he said.
But traders assured that from Friday the situation would improve. “Supplies are coming from Pushkar district of Rajasthan, Indore, and Maharashtra. The Shimla-Delhi route, too, will open shortly. So prices might stabilise soon,” Jai Kishan Saini said.