Fruit and vegetable prices have shot up by an average of 300% following an indefinite strike at Khandsa wholesale market in Sector 10 A since Monday.
The price of tomatoes have shot up by over 200% and pumpkins 700% costlier. Cauliflower has jumped from Rs 15 to Rs 60 per kilogram in a week. Capsicum costs Rs 200 per kilogram compared to Rs 50 a week ago.
Yogesh Yadav, a retailer at Sector 30, said, “We have been suffering for the last three days. Because of scarcity of vegetables, the prices have gone up and the sale is down. Today (Wednesday), we went to Jhajjar district to get vegetables and fruits. We started at 3 am and reached by 5:30 am. The trip cost Rs 1500. We have no idea till when the strike will be called off.”
Protesting against a government proposal to convert the market into a commercial space, dealers have gone on strike. They fear that once the government constructs structures in the market area, they might have to buy the space in an auction or pay a monthly rent, without which they will not be allowed to operate.
As many as 200 trucks bring 300 tonnes of vegetables and fruits to this market, making it the biggest wholesale in the city.
This is for the first time since 1990 -- when the market was set up -- that it has shut down.
“We have not been given any written confirmation that we will be able to come back and operate in the market after the government sets up sheds. We do not trust the officials. We will continue the strike till the government listens to our demands,” Krishan Pal Yadav, member of Gurgaon Sabji Mandi Adhata (wholesale) Union, said.
The wholesale dealers were asked to relocate to a different area, but they are not willing.
Jagmal Sharma, a wholesaler, said, “We used to operate at Gurudwara Road mandi in 1984. We were forced to vacate that market and relocated to this place which was a grain market in 1990. Now, history is repeating.”
The Gurgaon market committee said they are trying to think of possible ways to make dealers call off the strike. Since Monday the arrival of vegetables in the mandi has come down steeply, a market committee official said.
“We are trying to address the demands of wholesale dealers and by today (Wednesday), we are positive that we will reach some agreement with them. We have a proposal to create sheds in the market to organise the market area,” Sudesh Gupta, secretary and executive officer of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC), Gurgaon, said.
Most vegetables sold in Gurgaon come from outside the city. The maximum procurement is from the Yamuna belt in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, and different regions in Uttarakhand.
In Haryana, vegetables are brought from Sonipat, Karnal and Panipat, while some vegetables such as capsicum are brought from Himachal Pradesh, an official of the market committee said.
Farmers from nearby areas are not visiting the mandi because of the high price. Even if the strike is called off, it is likely to take another three days for the market to stabilise.