Escalating prices of veggies make the common man sigh

December 23rd, 2010 - 3:42 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 23 (IANS) When Kamala Devi moved to Delhi from Bihar 10 years back, hoping for a better life, she never thought that some day she would think of going back home. But burdened under the rising prices of vegetables, she is mulling over just that - even if only for a while.

“I work in five houses everyday and earn Rs.2,000 a month. This, in addition to my husband’s earnings, is enough to run the house. But now things are not the same. With something as basic as onions costing Rs.60 a kilo, how can commoners like us afford to live here?” said Kamala Devi, a domestic worker.

Though the government has assured people that the retail onion prices will come down “very soon”, she said the prices of other vegetables like tomatoes and carrots have shot up.

“If I stop buying vegetables because they cost so much, then what are we supposed to eat? I am actually thinking of going back home for a while, maybe, and then return when things stabilise,” Kamala Devi added.

Rajesh Mehta, who owns a stationary shop in north Delhi, said his monthly budget has gone haywire because of the increasing prices of commodities of daily use, especially vegetables.

“Winters are the time when you can have plenty of fresh vegetables at a relatively cheap price. But not this year. Unlike the usual Rs.10-15 a kilo, tomatoes now cost Rs.40. It’s the same with other vegetables like carrots and peas which the vendors are selling for Rs.40 a kilo,” Mehta said.

Bargaining at a local vegetable vendor’s shop, Sarita Jain, a homemaker, said: “Okra costs Rs.80 a kilo, tomatoes Rs.40 and onions Rs.60. The government has been assuring us that the onion prices will come down, and they have come down from the last few days when it was Rs.80. But what about the other vegetables?”.

“I guess it’s better to have chicken or mutton than vegetables these days! But we don’t even have that option since we are vegetarians,” Jain said.

People at the wholesale market, however, claim that it’s the retailers who are to be blamed for the shooting prices.

Rajan Sharma, general secretary of the Azadpur wholesale market, said: “Onion in the wholesale market is selling at Rs.10-35 a kilo, depending on the size and colour of the bulb. Tomatoes are selling for Rs.12-20 a kilo.”

“The escalating prices of vegetables is because there is just no control mechanism in the retail market. The retailers get together and decide the prices with a Rs.10-20 margin beforehand,” Sharma told IANS.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Thursday said that prices of onion will come down in the next few days as the central government and the Delhi government have taken a series of measures to bring down the rates.

“Both the centre and the Delhi government have taken a series of measures and the impact has been seen in the wholesale market. The prices will come down soon,” she said.

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