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West Bengal floods: Vegetable prices soar after farms, supply chain hit

Admitting that floods have affected the supply chain, state agriculture minister Purnendu Bose said some retailers were manipulating the prices.

kolkata Updated: Jul 27, 2017 19:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Kolkata, Hindustan Times
West Bengal floods,Vegetable prices,Farms
A woman buys tomatoes in a vegetable market. Tomato prices touched Rs 100 per kilogram in some districts of West Bengal.(HT File)

With flood waters inundating farmlands and disrupting supply chains in seven south Bengal districts for three days in a row, prices of vegetables have soared.

Tomatoes, which were selling for Rs 45 per kg in Kolkata markets earlier this month, skyrocketed to Rs 100 - an all-time high in recent months. So did green chili, which otherwise sold for no more than Rs 70 per kg till last week.

The consumers in Kolkata felt the pinch even as the government alleged that a section of traders hiked the prices, taking advantage of the floods.

“The prices are on fire. This morning, vendors at the local market said this is only the beginning. Things will get worse in the coming weeks,” said Shaktipada Sharma, a resident of Bagha Jatin in south Kolkata.

“Prices will rise more since supply to retail markets has fallen sharply,” said Bikas Das, a vegetable vendor.

Price of vegetables such as parwal (striped gourd), ridge gourd and okra went up by at least Rs 10 at different markets in the last 24 days, shopkeepers said.

Admitting that floods have affected the supply chain, state agriculture minister Purnendu Bose said some retailers were manipulating the prices. “The police and market monitoring committees appointed by the government are keeping a close watch. We will not hesitate to take action against hoarders,” said Bose.

Potatoes, the most consumed vegetable in the state, remained immune to the inflation.

“This happened because farmers moved their harvest from the fields to cold storages long ago. This is the time they sow paddy. But in case of other vegetables the flood has affected retail prices,” said senior peasant leader and CPI(M) politburo member Hannan Mollah.

First Published: Jul 27, 2017 19:10 IST