It's not just onions that sting these days. A survey of local markets in the Capital on Wednesday showed that almost everything the neighbourhood greengrocer sells - except potatoes - has started pinching the pocket of the middle class Delhiite.
Retail prices of vegetables, such as beans, brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage, tomato and carrot, have shot up by 25 to 60% compared to prices around this time last year.
Although onion prices are showing signs of cooling in the wholesale market, consumers in localities across Delhi continued to pay Rs 65-70 a kg in the retail market.
Jayashree Raghuraman, secretary in the food and supplies department of the Delhi government, said: "There are costs involved in transportation. Diesel, besides handling and labour charges, has become dearer. No wonder, prices are higher this year."
But traders mainly blamed unseasonal rains for the scarcity.
Manoj Kumar, a retailer near Mandi House in central Delhi, said: "We have hardly received any supply from western Uttar Pradesh, which saw large-scale vegetable crop-loss due to the rains."
Kumar was selling carrot at Rs 18-20 a kg, way above the Rs 10-12 a kg level during December last year.
Brinjal, cauliflower and cabbage also saw price increases in the same range.
Prices of tomato, too, rose to Rs 40 a kg in retail on Wednesday from Rs 15-20 a kg about 10 days back. The reasons for the price spurt were lower arrivals and large-scale exports to Pakistan.
Till Wednesday, onion prices in the retail market refused to stabilise.
As compared to the wholesale rate of Rs 37.5 a kg on Wednesday - down from Rs 50 a day earlier - retail prices ruled between Rs 65 and Rs 70. Even Mother Dairy outlets charged Rs 65-67.
The government allowed duty-free imports of onions, imposing at the same time an indefinite export ban. Earlier, new onion export permits were also suspended.