Taking advantage of the reduced vegetable supply and increase in consumption as a result of the ongoing festive season, retailers and vendors in the city have hiked prices.
Almost all vegetables, including cauliflower, cabbage, capsicum and tomatoes, are being sold in the retail market for almost triple their price in the wholesale market. Cauliflower and cabbage, priced at Rs. 20 and Rs. 12 per kg respectively in wholesale market, are being sold for Rs. 60- Rs. 80 in the retail market.
Similarly, though the price of tomatoes has decreased in the wholesale market, from Rs. 18-44 last week to Rs. 16-40 on Thursday, the crop continues to sell for Rs. 60 and above in the retail market.
Compared with last week, the number of vehicles supplying vegetables drastically dropped on Thursday because of heavy rainfall across the state. This restricts farmers from harvesting the produce, consequently supply falls.
On August 28, 597 vegetable vehicles arrived in the Agricultural Produce Market Committee’s (APMC) vegetable market, while on September 4 it reduced to 488. This significant drop of 110 vehicles has marginally increased the prices in the wholesale market.
Consumers, however, continue to be burdened by the retailers, who are in a hurry to make a quick buck during the festive season. “Retail vendors normally take advantage of such a situation and increase the prices at their end,” said an APMC official, on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak to the media.
To control such profiteering by retailers, the state government commissioned cheap vegetable centres last year, but they were closed down abruptly, without an effective alternate mechanism.
“The state should continue such ventures on a permanent basis instead of running them for a short period,” said Dr Sitaram Dixit, chairman of consumer guidance society of India.