Vegetable Vendors were quick to cash in on the 72-hour bandh call given by traders — a section of them are making a killing by quoting prohibitive prices for everyday items like potato, onion and cabbage. And they are blaming the strike call for the rise.
The prices of most vegetables had already been riding on a new high for the past two weeks. For instance, the new yield of potato, which was being sold at Rs 22 per kg for the past one week, was on sale for a “revised” rate of Rs 26 a kg on Monday.
Sellers at local vegetable markets as well as those roaming with carts claimed that the hub of vegetables in the Capital, the Azadpur Mandi, was shut causing a crunch in supply.“Thanks to the strike, the demand has shot up, while the supply has waned because all the main markets are closed, hence the rise,” said Rampal, a vegetable vendor in Sarojini Nagar. It was the same story in other areas like Gole Market and Karol Bagh. While prices differed from place to place, there was an overall rise of around 20 per cent in vegetable prices everywhere.
As a result, several residents returned with very little or no vegetable to stock up, while the rest had a huge hole in their pockets. “Interestingly, only common vegetables have become costlier. The rest, like carrots and leafy vegetables are the same,” said Savita Garg, a shopper at South Extension, where cabbage was being sold at Rs 20 a kg.
That the hike is the result of sellers cashing on the bandh was clear as wholesalers and commission agents at Azadpur vegetable market claimed things were as normal as ever. Rajkumar Bhatia, general secretary of Agricultural Produce Markets Committee (APMC) said: “Azadpur market has been functioning normally. There is no shortage in supply on our end.” He said that potato was being sold at the mandi for Rs 15 per kg. “On the contrary, except for bitter gourd, prices of all vegetables actually saw a slight decrease on Monday,” he added.