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Cheap veggie shops a success on Day 1, but is this sustainable?

These centres are part of the Maharashtra government’s scheme to sell cheap vegetables — between 30% and 50% lower than market rates.

mumbai Updated: Jul 10, 2013 09:11 IST

People were seen thronging the 11 vegetable centres in the city on Tuesday evening.

These centres are part of the state government’s scheme to sell cheap vegetables — between 30% and 50% lower than market rates.

The introduction of this scheme has led to a reduction in retail rates in a few areas.

Following the exorbitant rise in prices of vegetables, the state government intervened and decided to set up 106 centres to sell vegetables and fruits at lower rates, hoping this may force vegetable vendors to reduce rates.

On Tuesday, 11 tonnes of vegetables were transported from the Vashi-based Agriculture Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) market to 11 outlets in the city. “The hike is an artificial hype created by retailers. Starting the centres is a temporary solution.

If these centres help bring down prices, we might not need to start all 106 centres,” said SK Goyal, additional chief secretary, agriculture and marketing department.

This has been seen on the ground: “Prices of vegetables that are more in demand have reduced,” said Sampada Mane, 33, Bhoiwada resident.

Dadar resident Sumita Pandey, 25, said: “This will provide great relief to the middle class, and should continue even after prices in local market reduce. The number of such stores should also be increased.”

However, vendors feel that the endeavour is ‘too little, too late’.

“This scheme is restricted to departmental stores, where everybody cannot afford to shop. People want to buy vegetables in their vicinity and will purchase from us,” said Ramesh Yadav, a vendor from Parel village.

Another vendor from Dadar, Kamlakar Dange, said that 106 centres are too little to keep up to the demand of the city. “Now prices have got fixed and no one will reduce them. It is too late.”

Shirish Deshpande, Mumbai Grahak Panchayat chairman, appreciated the move, but said it must be sustainable.

First Published: Jul 10, 2013 09:06 IST