Agartala, Oct. 18: The prices of vegetables and rice, which had risen moderately during Durga Puja, went up further on Lakshmi Puja today.
While green chilli sold at Rs 300 per kg in all the local markets, the prices of vegetables rose by Rs 15 per kg.
“I bought lady’s finger at Rs 80 per kg, brinjal at Rs 65 per kg and other vegetables have sold at prices that are at least Rs 15-25 higher than usual,” said Anath Bandhu Sarkar, a school teacher at Amtoli of southern Agartala.
He said prices of vegetables generally go up during Lakshmi Puja as people partake of vegetarian food, but the increase has been “extraordinary” this year.
The idols of goddess Lakshmi have also sold at exorbitant prices. Even the tiniest of images have sold at Rs 300.
“The prices always rise around this time but this year, it is unusually high,” said Anath Bandhu, pointing an idol in his hand that he had purchased at Rs 500.
Bijay Gopal Saha, the president of the vegetable traders’ association in Battala, the biggest market in Agartala town, attributed the price rise to “an imbalance of demand and supply”.
“The demand is more and supply is less, so prices have risen sharply. We purchase the vegetables we sell directly from farmers in rural areas or other small markets. This year, production has been low and for some reasons we have not got vegetables from the neighbouring Barak valley districts and other areas of Assam and Meghalaya. Till Durga Puja, we sold cauliflowers at Rs 125 per kg but now we have to sell it at Rs 160 per kg because we have not received sufficient cauliflowers and tomatoes from Meghalaya,” said Saha.
He, however, added that the “extraordinary level” of prices would come down from tomorrow after Lakshmi Puja.
“However, this will be a brief respite as prices will rise again for Diwali. Unless our agricultural production rises, the prices will continue to be high,” said Saha.
The state government also cracked down on the sale, purchase and use of firecrackers today.
Sub-divisional officers in Sadar, Sonamura and Khowai subdivisions have seized firecrackers and other noise pollutants valued at Rs 10 lakh.
A team from the state Pollution Control Board, headed by its chairperson, professor (retd) Mihir Deb, has also been on an inspection spree, to penalise people engaged in trading in firecrackers.
“There is a high court order regarding the permitted decibel level. So we are trying to control the noise levels,” said M.K. Mookherjee, an executive engineer in the board.