Demands down, farm alarm rings in Ranchi
The lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic has hit the vegetable markets in the city that are devoid of buyers despite being well-stocked, and an MLA said farmers have been badly hit by the drop in demand.
Vidya Nagar resident Rajesh Kumar Gupta said he had stopped going to the market because he knew maintaining social distance was not possible there.
“Why take a risk and go to the market where people jostle to buy veggies? I was relieved when I noticed a vendor selling vegetables in my locality at the same price at which I used to purchase them before the lockdown,” Gupta said.
To beat the lack of demand, many vendors are now taking the roaming route.
“Prices of vegetables are stable, but there are very few buyers because of social distancing. Finding no way out, I brought out my push cart today (Saturday) and went to different localities so that the customers can come one by one and buy vegetables,” Ranchi vendor Dinesh Kumar said.
Haji Mohammed Seraj, former president of Daily Market Association, agreed.
“Today (Saturday), I had to sell off all vegetables at 10-20 per cent lower price. I sold bhindi at Rs 15 per kg, bitter gourd at Rs 10 per kg and tomato at Rs 8 per kg,” Seraj said.
The lockdown has come as a big challenge for farmers, said Mandar MLA Bandhu Tirkey. He said he had asked agriculture minister Badal Patralekh to extend help to farmers.
“Crops have already been destroyed due to untimely rain and hail storm. Now the lockdown has come as a big challenge for farmers. Following the drop in demand after the lockdown, vegetables are getting destroyed in the field itself. The government should purchase them at a reasonable price and ensure door-to-door supply through its channel,” Tirkey said.
Patralekh said the step had already been taken with the help of co-operative societies.
“We have roped in co-operative societies and work has already started. Hope the change will be visible soon,” he said.
Vendor Bablu Kumar said vegetable prices would have gone down further if the transportation remained smooth.
“Transporters, who are limited in number due to the lockdown, are demanding exorbitant charges,” the vegetable vendor said.