Veggies beyond reach for the common man

People are at a loss managing their kitchen budget with vegetable prices going through the roof. The price of beans was Rs 100 a kg, bitter gourd Rs 80 a kg, brinjal Rs 40, drumsticks Rs 80 and green chillies Rs 150 a kg at the Unit-I vegetable market on Tuesday. This market is supposedly the cheapest wholesale market here. Going by the prohibitive prices, a household has to shell out Rs 20 to Rs 30 more per kg for any vegetable now.

Most households have changed their food menu to cushion themselves from this inflation. “We are vegetarians and used to have lots of vegetables but now I am trying to replace vegetables with pulses as it is becoming increasingly unaffordable for a middle class family,” said Priyambada Das, a housewife.

Last month’s dry spell and short supply from neighbouring states are responsible for the soaring prices of vegetables, vendors said. “There is a huge gap between demand and supply as a small quantity of vegetable is coming into the market. Prices are going to increase more with the wedding season approaching,” said Ranjit Swain, a vendor.

“We are helpless. We are forced to sell vegetables at higher prices because we are buying them at a higher rate. Compared to nearly 80 to 100 trucks of vegetables coming to the city everyday, only 20 to 30 trucks are coming nowadays but the demand remains the same. The price is bound to go up,” said Banamali Sahu, a vegetable-seller.

The Bhubaneswar market depends upon other states to meet its demand of vegetables. Besides, Athagarh, Barabati, Jajpur, Balanga, Satsankha, Pipili and far off districts like Balasore, Balangir and Sambalpur also supply their produce to the capital.

“Earlier, I used to spend Rs 200 a week on vegetables but now even vegetables worth Rs 500 are inadequate. The price of everything is increasing but our salaries remain constant. The government must intervene to check the price rise of essential commodities like vegetables,” said Manoj Maharana, a government employee.

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