Australia and China have suddenly turned apples of the eyes of Patna residents.
The imported fruit from these countries are doing brisk business in the state capital as compared to those from Shimla and Kashmir.
The sellers said people have started taking a liking for the imported “forbidden fruit” because of their fresh look and attractive packing.
The large number of cars outside Phal Bazaar near the Income Tax roundabout reveals only a half picture. But a closer look to some of the shops said it all.
“Foreign apples are in great demand these days, even though those are quite expensive as compared to the Indian varieties. The fruits from China and Australia in particular have a very big market these days. The sale of Indian apples has gone down in the past six months after the arrival of the foreign ones,” said Suraj Kumar, a shop owner at Phal Bazaar.
On the changing demand of the sale of the fruit, Suraj said: “Earlier, I used to sell around 90kg to 80kg of Indian apples everyday, but that has dropped to about 30kg-40kg now. On the contrary, around 80kg to 70kg of the foreign varieties are sold everyday.”
Another shop owner, Munna Paswan, added that the demand for apples was throughout the year, making the imported fruits enjoying a large number of takers. “Apples are used for various purposes. From giving apples to an ailing person to devotees offering it in temples, apples are used for almost every reason,” he said.
On the reason behind the increased demand in foreign apples, he said: “Unlike Indian apples, which arrive here in trucks, foreign apples arrive in AC cargo carriers, which keeps it fresh. Besides, the apples reach India in a cargo ship. Because of these transportation costs, the foreign apples cost more.”
Samastipur resident Y.S. Gupta was seen asking “kaun kaun sa videshi sev hai apke paas (which foreign apples do you have)?” at a shop.
When The Telegraph asked him why he was looking for imported apples, he said: “These apples have a fresh look and last for at least 15 days, whereas Indian apples cannot be stored for more than two to three days. It is better to pay some extra more money and get the better stuff.”
Gupta walked away with 5kg Australian apple.
While it was the fresh look for some, several others found the size of the imported apples the most attractive.
“The size of Chinese apples is quite big and the best thing about is that all of them come in the same size, unlike Indian apples. Some Indian apples are large, while the others are small or medium. Even the colour of imported apples is better than the Indian ones,” Sushila Devi, housewife and a resident of Boring Road, said.
Some people complained that they do not get the original Indian apples, which are produced in Kashmir and Shimla.
“Earlier the taste of Indian apples was very good, but now it is no longer the same. They sell poor quality apples in the name of Shimla and Kashmir apples. So, it is wise to pay more and get the original ones. At least they appear good when placed on the dining table,” said Mithlesh Ranjan, a resident of Buddha Colony.