Wholesale traders staged a demonstration at the district collectorate on Thursday, protesting against “large” differences in onion and potato prices at wholesale and retail markets in the steel city.
Agitating under the banner of Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), the traders blamed retailers for inflating the prices and urged the administration to regulate sales at local markets.
A delegation, led by SCCI president Suresh Sonthalia, met East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal and apprised him of the situation.
According to them, onions are sold for Rs 22-24 per kg, while potatoes are available between Rs14 and 15 at the wholesale market of Krishi Utpad Bazaar Samiti (KUBS), functioning under Jharkhand State Agricultural Marketing Board at Parsudih. However, retailers are selling them at Rs 28-30 and Rs 20-22 per kg, respectively, in local markets.
“The wholesale traders conduct their trade through KUBS. Entire business at KUBS is recorded and monitored and contrary to popular belief, there is no scope for hoarding,” said Bharat Vasani, vice-president (trade and commerce) SCCI.
He added that the retailers, on the other hand, were unorganised and were increasing prices of essential commodities at will. “We are apprehensive that the administration may later target the wholesalers for alleged hoarding,” said Vasani.
The agitators also claimed that there had been no demand-supply gap as far as onions and potatoes are concerned. “The city normally receives 200 tonnes of onions and 500 tonnes of potatoes daily. And there has been no decrease in the supply till now,” said the SCCI president.