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Rain effect: Hike in veggie prices upsets household budgets

Though the first showers of the monsoon brought down the mercury by a few notches and gave much-needed relief from the scorching heat, the sudden increase in the price of fruits and vegetables left residents shocked on Saturday. Divya Sethi reports.
By Divya Sethi | Hindustan Times, Gurgaon
UPDATED ON JUL 08, 2012 01:07 AM IST

Though the first showers of the monsoon brought down the mercury by a few notches and gave much-needed relief from the scorching heat, the sudden increase in the price of fruits and vegetables left residents shocked on Saturday.

Overnight, the price of veggies skyrocketed by 30-90%.

According to government officials, the reason behind the hike is disruption in the supply chain and traffic jams on National Highway no. 8 because of heavy rain on Friday evening.

Due to short supply of vegetables in Gurgaon mandis, the officials said, the prices might rise further.

Haryana received a total of 1561.6mm rain in 24 hours from 8am on Friday with the highest rainfall of 111mm in Ambala district. Gurgaon received a total 46mm rain.

On an average, Gurgaon gets 4,500-5,000 quintal of vegetable daily but the supply was reduced drastically on Saturday.

Though officials claimed there was no increase in the wholesale rates but the impact of the first downpour of the season was visible on the retail prices and residents were compelled to shell out extra money. Till a few days back, onions were available at R8-9 per kg while the prices skyrocketed to R15 a kg on Saturday.

Beenu Manchanda, a resident of Sector 57, said, "I was shocked to see the new rates. Till a day ago, the rates were normal but on Saturday the cost suddenly soared. The vegetable vendor said that because of heavy rains, there was no supply of vegetables so the prices have gone up."

Vinay Yadav, secretary of the state-owned Gurgaon Market Committee, said, "There might be some increase in retail prices but there is not much change in wholesale rates. But if it rains continuously, then the prices of onion and potato could further go up by 30%."

He further said, "During monsoon, we do not get proper supply of vegetables and fruits. The retailers start fixing rates as per their own whims."

Roads blocked
Though Friday's downpour caused massive traffic jams across with city, the situation was better on Saturday as it was a holiday.

Residents, however, are unhappy with the callous attitude of the administration.

Rajni Sharma said, "This is the story of every monsoon. Despite tall claims by the administration, roads are blocked after even mild showers. Hero Honda Crossing on Gurgaon Expressway, MG Road and Sohna Road are trouble spots."

Jyoti Mehra, a resident of Sector 5, said, "The administration should get the drains cleaned before July."

Gurgaon municipal commissioner Sudhir Rajpal, however, said, "We get sewage drains cleaned and desilted regularly but the frequency will be intensified in the rainy season."

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