Vegetable prices are likely to rise this week as wholesalers across the board have gone on strike protesting the Delhi government’s decision to stop the 6% commission charged by distributors from farmers.
Retailers in the city stated that even though they were selling at the previous rates on Monday, they would be forced to charge higher prices or not sell at all from Tuesday owing to the stoppage of supply from wholesalers. “We will be forced to charge at least double for some of the essential vegetables such as tomatoes and onions. We may not even have anything to sell from Tuesday onwards,” said a retailer in south Delhi’s Kalkaji .
Distributors and wholesalers, who shut shop, claimed that the government’s suggestion to pass the burden of the commission onto the consumers would backfire.
“We pay the farmers in advance for the expenses they incur such as pesticides, manure and other equipment required for the crop. When the crop is harvested, we procure it from them and receive a commission. After that, we sell it to the wholesalers across the country, who in turn sell it to retailers and then consumers. Why should we not charge that commission when we pay for the crop? ” said Manoj Kriplani, a distributor at the Azadpur Mandi.
There still remains a bleak ray of hope for consumers as Safal Dairy retailers, in the city, stated that their prices would remain unaffected.
“Safal has its own procurement mechanism so we don’t anticipate any rise in prices in the coming days. We should not be affected much by the strike called by wholesalers,” said a Safal Dairy retailer.
The Delhi government asserted that mandis in the city had received a supply of vegetables, despite the strike. “It is not true that the wholesalers have not got any supply. While Azadpur mandi did not get any supply, the other mandis got 50% of what they usually get. We are trying to amicably resolve this but if they continue to flout the order, we will be forced to take action. Even though we have asked wholesalers to challenge the order in the Supreme Court, they have asked us to do it. That is something the government cannot do,” said Girish Soni, Delhi’s development minister.