| Too dear |
Bhubaneswar, April 19: Potato and onion prices are rising in the city and residents fear that if no steps are taken to check the prices, the situation may go out of control like it did last November.
Potato, which used to cost around Rs 12 a kg till a few days ago, is now sold at Rs 17. The price of onion, too, climbed by around Rs 5 to touch Rs 18 a kg.
A government official said they would take steps to check the price hike and dealers blamed transportation charges and a gap between supply and demand.
“We were buying potato for Rs 10 to Rs 12 per kilo a month ago. The rate slightly increased at the end of March. But over the past few days, it has reached Rs 17 a kilo and the price is even higher at some places,” said Chakeisiani resident Rubina Nanda.
Last November, potato vanished from the market and the state government had to beg from the neighbouring states for more supply. “We had to suffer a lot after Phailin when the potato went missing,” said Chandrasekharpur resident Shyam Sundar Rout.
However, a trader said the price rise was not very high and there was no need to panic. They said that normally in April, the supply of products from farmers come to an end and the potato and onion kept in cold storages take some time to come to market.
“That’s why the rates sometimes go up for a brief period. The cold storage product will come by the beginning of May and the prices will stabilise thereafter,” said Gayadhar Swain, president of Byabasayi Sangh, Unit- I market. As several trucks were requisitioned for election, the transportation charges went up in the past few days, which also affected the rate of the vegetables, he said.
“With the election over, the transportation charges will also come down,” said Santosh Rout, a trader.
The rate of potato in the wholesale market is Rs 10, but it is sold Rs 5 higher in the retail market. The same situation prevails for onion.
The city and its outskirts require around 35 truckloads of potato and equal amount of onion.
Wholesale dealers, however, said they were getting regular supply of potato and onion and their prices were normal.
In another development, a food and supply official said they were busy with election duties and could not send their officials for raid.
“Once they return from poll duty, we will conduct raids and see who are responsible for such price rise,” said a senior official.