Delhi gets most of its milk and vegetable supplies from Haryana and the situation is likely to get worse in the coming days if the farmers’ agitation continues.(File Photo)
Delhi gets most of its milk and vegetable supplies from Haryana and the situation is likely to get worse in the coming days if the farmers’ agitation continues.(File Photo)

Blocked borders fuel concerns of rising price of essential items in Delhi

It is mostly wholesale supply that has taken a hit with hundreds of trucks not being able to enter the city. According to the Azadpur Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Azadpur, supply in the market dropped by 50-60% in the last two days with trucks from Punjab and Haryana unable to reach the market.
By HT Correspondent | Hindustan Times, New Delhi, New Delhi
UPDATED ON NOV 30, 2020 06:19 AM IST

Barricades, clashes, and a group of determined farmers blocking Delhi’s borders with Haryana, waiting for their grievances to be heard, has hit supplies of fruits and vegetable to the Capital. Traders, however, said there is no shortage yet. But the ripples of the protest is likely to show in the coming days, they warn.

It is mostly wholesale supply that has taken a hit with hundreds of trucks not being able to enter the city. According to the Azadpur Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) Azadpur, supply in the market dropped by 50-60% in the last two days with trucks from Punjab and Haryana unable to reach the market.

Aadil Ahmad Khan, chairman of Azadpur APMC, said, “We usually get 2,000-3,000 trucks in the market. But only 666 trucks arrived on Friday and around 1,000 on Saturday. The supply has been affected by 50-60% in the past few days and will be impacted further if the protest is not called off. The government should talk to the farmers and find a solution. The problem is the same at Okhla mandi as well.”

Traders at Azadpur market said the supply of potato, apple and other seasonal fruits has been affected, as these largely come from Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. Trucks with fruits and vegetable supply are stuck at NH-1 and NH-10, the two main links between Haryana and Delhi, at Singhu and Tikri borders, hitting supplies of essentials in Delhi.

Meeta Ram Kriplani, president of the Chamber of Association of Fruits and Vegetable traders at Azadpur, said, “Vegetable supply has fallen by 50% and fruits by 70%. The goods are stuck on the highway. These are all perishable items. Vegetables and fruits are supplied all across the country from here. It will impact the business.”

While some traders said they are getting supply from Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and trying to get bring in goods stuck at the borders using smaller vehicles, others said these perishable items wouldn’t last long.

Delhi gets most of its milk and vegetable supplies from Haryana and the situation is likely to get worse in the coming days if the farmers’ agitation continues.

“Vehicles are parked on both sides of the road, stretching out for nearly three kilometres,” says Naresh Kumar, a truck driver from Himachal Pradesh. His truck, loaded with apples, has been stranded near the Kundli border for the past two days.

Charan Singh, CEO of the Rohtak Vita Milk Plant, said farmers were supplying them 1.10 lakh litres of milk every day as before. However, after consumption of 50 ,000 litres per day at the Rohtak plant, the remaining 60,000 litres sent to the Kundli plant for making milk powder was instead being sent to Pehowa in Kurukshetra because of the blockades. “Our transportation cost and other expenditure has increased,” he added.

However, even as an advisory was issued by Sonepat police sometime back asking travellers to avoid NH44 as farmers had blocked it and use NH-71A to reach Delhi via Gurugram, Buana, Narela and Safiyabad, Rajshree Singh, Haryana IGP traffic, told Hindustan Times that there was no blockade anywhere from Ambala to Rai. Police personnel, however, had been monitoring the situation after traffic jams had been reported from Rai, she added.

Mohd Sayeed, who deals in potatoes and apples at Okhla Agriculture Produce Market Committee , said that apples are anyway in short supply this year due to the Covid pandemic. “We were expecting supply last week, but the trucks got stuck due to snowfall. Now due to the farmers’ protest, it is going to get further delayed.”

Onion trader at Okhla, Haji Yamin, too voiced apprehensions. “Currently, there is no problem at , although we are getting 10-15% less stock. We source onions from Alwar. The ongoing protest has scared the farmers in neighbouring states, who earlier used to come to the mandi directly to sell their produce. Very few farmers from Rajasthan and other neighbouring states are coming to Delhi, as they fear that they will get stuck at the Delhi borders,” Yamin, who is the president of the onion traders’ association at Okhla APMC said.

But some traders at APMCs in Delhi are working to maintain the supply chain. Nand Gopal, a trader at Azadpur APMC, said, “Trucks are taking a detour and entering Delhi from Gurugram and other borders. This will not affect the cost of the goods much. But if the situation persists, then it will lead to a problem.”

At Ghazipur mandi, traders said the supply of potato and other vegetables has dropped. “If the situation continues, it will be a huge problem. For the past two days, supply in the market is down by 30-40%,” said Ashok Khera, a vegetable trader at Ghazipur.

So far there has been no increase in retail prices of fruits and vegetables, as there is currently no shortage of fruits and vegetables in the Capital. Suraj Singh, area manager of Honey Money Top, “We were anticipating shortage of fruits and vegetables in the mandis. But so far it hasn’t happened. Therefore, there is no increase in retail price.”

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