|A resident buys vegetables at Anta Ghat in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Ashok Sinha
Patna, Sept. 1: Vegetable prices have shot up as floods destroyed crops in the diara regions of Ganga that supply a lion’s share of vegetables to the state capital.
The diaras are the largest vegetation area nearby. Everyday, around 12 to 15 trucks used to land at wholesale markets in Patna with vegetables. But, due to flooding in the diara areas, just to 5 to 6 trucks are arriving now, pushing up vegetable prices in the market.
Wholesale market trader at Anta Ghat, Mithlesh Yadav, said, “I used to get vegetables from the diara but floods have destroyed crops there. We now get vegetables from non-diara areas like Sonepur in Saran district and Dalsinghsarai in Samastipur district. The increased transportation cost is forcing us to sell vegetables at a higher price.”
Vegetables like bottle gourd, available for Rs 10-15 a kg until a week ago in the retail market, now sell for Rs 20-25 a kg. Tomatoes are up from Rs 20-35 a kg to Rs 55-60 a kg in the Boring Road area.
Similarly, the price of pointed gourd is up from Rs 15 per kg to Rs 30 per kg; chilly from Rs 40 per kg to Rs 60 per kg; ladiesfinger and brinjal from Rs 15-20 per kg to Rs 30 per kg now.
Agriculture department expert Anil Kumar Jha confirmed Patna depends on the diaras for its vegetables. “The diara farmers always face problems during floods,” he further said.
Sudhesh Mahto, a diara farmer, lost vegetables grown on 3 cottahs. “The flood has destroyed all vegetables. I could easily have earned Rs 20,000-30,000, but I am left with nothing now. Spinach, ladies finger, brinjal and tomato, all gone…”
Jha further said: “The situation will improve after farmers start normal cropping in October. But they can supply vegetables only by December.”
So, residents will have to pay more till the supply of vegetables is restored.
Chandan, a retailer at Rajapur pul, East Boring Canal Road, said, “The supply of vegetables has gone down drastically because of the floods. We are paying wholesalers a lot more to get vegetables and have no option than to charge more from consumers. We don’t want to, but cannot afford to face losses either.”
A Buddha Colony resident and housewife, Sapna Mishra, said, “Increased price of vegetables has thrown our monthly budget out of gear. Prices of all vegetables have gone up. We have had to cut down on quantity but how does one do without onions? At Rs 60 per kg, its price has already made our lives miserable.”