The sudden post-Diwali hike in prices of vegetables has upset household budgets across the city. Citing low supply and higher demand, sellers have been busy raking in the profits.
While tomato has hit triple digits, selling at up to Rs. 110 per kg for the past couple of days - up from Rs. 50 per kg before Diwali - vegetable whose prices have suddenly shot up include capsicum, which on Thursday was being sold by local vendors for Rs. 120 per kg. Peas have also come into the `100 bracket. Onion, however, has come down from its three-digit high, thanks to some increased supply, though it's still around Rs. 70 a kg.
Dealers at the main vegetable market in Sector 26 say that by next week consumers should be relived a bit as prices of both onion and tomato would fall. "Earlier we used to get the crop of tomato from villages near the city, but that has decreased drastically as most people have sold off their land for non-farming use. Now we are dependent on Nasik in Maharashtra and regions of Himachal Pradesh.
As such, there has been no supply from Nasik after Diwali as workers were not available for transportation. In Himachal, rain has affected the crop. By next week, when the crop comes from Nasik, prices for both tomato and onion are expected to fall, said Balbir Singh, chairman, Sabzi Mandi Arhtiya Association.
KNOW HOW: SETTING PRICES
Sector-26 mandi: Once the vegetables and fruits reach the mandi, the stocks are put up for auction by the middlemen (arhtiya), who sell it off to big traders after charging them a commission. Then smaller vendors take it from the big trader and sell it with added profit margin. There is no mechanism to regulate the prices; prices are determined every day in the morning after auction, said Balbir Singh, chairman, Sabzi Mandi Arhtiya Association.
Apni Mandi: Though all those selling vegetables and fruits in the Apni Mandi are to sell at the same price, it is actually decided by them as per the market condition. These weekly mandis are put up in different places every day. Councillor Deshraj Gupta, who heads these mandis, said, "Prices at the Apni Mandi are a few rupees less than the market price. There is just one rule: All participants have to sell at the same price decided for each commodity.
How to save still
At the Sector-26 main vegetable market has the lowest rates, followed by Apni Mandi, where most vegetables are priced according to the auction-determined prices of Sector 26. But street vendors and sector markets have higher prices usually.
What's the price?
Before Diwali Now (in Rs/kg)
Capsicum Rs. 60 Rs 100-120
Tomato Rs. 40 Rs. 100-110
Peas Rs 70 Rs. 100
Onion Rs. 90 Rs. 70
(Source: Sector 26 market; prices higher with local vendors by up to Rs. 25 a kg)