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The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Expensive veggies disappear from dinner platter

- Lack of respite forces citizens to cut down on vegetables; greengrocers plead helplessness

Devender Singh is forced to take egg curry for dinner quite frequently as the rising prices of vegetables have left him with few options.

Spending Rs 500 on vegetables every week is difficult for me. So I have shifted to egg, chicken and fish. These days, I am having egg curry quite often. It is economical, said the Nageshwar Colony resident.

The average price of a dozen eggs in Patna is Rs 45. It has remained constant for quite some time. But citizens would have to shell out Rs 45 for a kg of tomatoes, which were only Rs 20 per kg a fortnight ago. The prices of other vegetables, too, have gone north steadily of late. (See graphics)

Singh added: It is better to eat meat and fish rather than spend much money on vegetables.

The price rise pangs have affected Singhs fellow residents in equal measure. Patliputra Colony resident Ranjit Singh said: I buy vegetable for one week at a time. Earlier, I used to spend between Rs 300 and Rs 400. But now, I have to spend Rs 300 for three days vegetables. I fail to understand why the rates have increased suddenly.

Explaining the reason behind the rising prices, vegetable-sellers claimed they were helpless. What can we do? The supply has dropped suddenly. The wholesalers are charging more for the same quantity. As a result, we also have to charge a slightly higher price from the customers, said Deepak Kumar, a vegetable seller on Boring Road.

Much of the vegetable supply for Patna comes from the diara on its outskirts or from Jamshedpur in the neighbouring Jharkhand and Mumbai. Sources said the production had fallen because of natural crop cycles, triggering a drop in the supply.

Explanations are no relief for the residents, though.

East Boring Canal Road resident and homemaker Manisha Prasad told The Telegraph: My family loves to have salad during lunch and dinner. But the prices of vegetables have made it difficult to satisfy our taste buds.

There is no respite in sight either. The high prices would continue for 10-12 days. Those who want vegetables would have to pay for it, said Laxman Sahu, a greengrocer at Rajabazaar.

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