Dadar resident Prabhavati Shelke (69) is having a hard time. The monthly expenditure for her family of five has gone up from Rs 15,000 to Rs 25,000 because of rising vegetable prices.
“Instead of two vegetables, we cook just one,” said Shelke. “Today, I gave my maid some provisions from my stock because she cannot afford to buy them at these inflated prices.”
Skyrocketing prices of vegetables have made it difficult for homemakers to manage their monthly budgets.
Prices of vegetables continue to rise due to low arrivals and destruction of crops as rains lash the state’s interiors.
Tomatoes, which cost Rs 20 per kg in mid-October, now cost almost Rs 50 per kg. Lady’s finger that was available at Rs 3 per kg has touched Rs 60 per kg.
“Prices of the most common vegetables like potatoes and tomatoes have doubled. And fresh vegetables like spring onions, green leafy vegetables and turmeric are hardly available,” said 56-year old Rekha Kinariwala, a homemaker from Kandivli.
The government is yet to come up with a plan for arresting the rise in vegetable prices. The government is placing the blame on retailers.
“The supply of vegetables to wholesale markets is the same as before, barring the rainy days when lesser vehicles came in, and the prices are more or less the same,” said S.K. Goyal, principal secretary, Co-operation and Marketing.
“It is the retailers who are keeping the prices on the higher side and we do not have control over private players,” he added.
The government can invoke a law that allows it to take action against people creating artificial scarcity and causing prices to rise.
“But all this will normalise once the rains are gone and the kharif crop comes in,” Goyal said.
Kharif crops are usually sown with the first rains in July and harvested in October
Foodgrains, pulses and oil are also getting costlier. Traders expect prices to rise further in a few days again as demand for stocks goes up.
The public distribution system (PDS), however, ensures prices do not rise beyond affordable levels. The government has fixed the maximum prices and stock levels for items to be distributed through the PDS.
“The prices will remain high for at least three months. We will be selling palm oil at Rs 30 a litre, sugar at Rs 20 a kg and tur dal at Rs 55 a kg,” said Anil Deshmukh, minister, food and civil supplies.