| A vendor sells vegetables at Aanta Ghat in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Jai Prakash |
Monsoon, Navratri, Phailin, Bakrid… the blame game list is endless; so are the woes of people heading to mor- ning markets.
In the festive market dominated by all sorts of vegetables, onion is still the priciest. And, ask any retailer or a vendor. The answer is the same. “Due to continuous rainfall, the trucks carrying vegetables could not reach the markets. We have to buy vegetables from local vendors at market price instead of wholesale price. As a result, the price of all vegetables has gone up,” reasoned Renu Devi, a vendor, who was seen talking at a high pitch with her customers to come to a negotiable price.
In the aftermath of cyclone Phailin, people have been left only to keep onion out of their platter. Recipes have to be made innovative to fit into family budget even at a time when relatives and friends drop in to celebrate the festive days together. To add pain to their pockets, downpour for more than 48 hours across the state have affected the supply of vegetables to the wholesale markets of Patna.
Onion took a sharp rise of Rs 10 leading to Rs 70 per kg at Aanta Ghat vegetable market on Tuesday. Festivals have hardly come to their rescue. “Due to Bakrid, the vegetable price is sky-rocketing. The vendors are in the habit of raising prices as buying vegetables become a necessity during festivals. The onion prices are simply not affordable at present,” said Md Shamsher, a resident of Mandiri.
Only last month, the steady price rice of onion has become a national issue. Unfortunately, the graph has not changed much as the local supply chain has been affected because of incessant rainfall during the last two days of Durga Puja. Shyam Singh, a vegetable vendor at Aanta Ghat, said: “Due to heavy rain, onions kept in storages got damaged leading to an exorbitant increase in the price. Many boats from the diara areas were not able to supply vegetables to us on time as the rivers were in spate.”
The residents have squarely blamed the vegetable vendors waging a virtual war. “The vendors are responsible behind the sudden spurt in the price of common vegetables. The local vendors just raise prices of vegetables on their whims and fancies. There are different rates of same vegetable at one market. It shows that the prices of vegetables are not regulated properly,” said Pratibha Sinha, a resident of Bakargunj.
However, vendors had their side of the story too. “I am selling the vegetables, which were in stock. I am also compelled to increase the price because of shortage in supply,” added Shyam.
Kamal, another resident of Patliputra, wondered why the government could not do anything in controlling the steady price rise.
Like Shyam, there are many such vendors waiting for the stock to arrive. Raju, a vendor at Kadamkuan market, said he could not even put up his stall. “Due to late supply of the vegetables, I am not able to put up my small kiosk. During festive season, the demand of vegetables is more than usual. But forget cashing in on it, I am suffering a huge loss despite ordering adequate stocks well in advance,” lamented Raju.