Double whammy: Veggies, fruits to cost more

Friday

Diesel price hike Transporters plan to increase freight rates

Fruits and vegetables will get dearer by as much as 12 per cent after the Centre announced a Rs-5 increase in diesel on Thursday. Transporters of the commodities to major markets said they are left with no choice but to increase freight rates and pass the fuel costs onto consumers.

Sunil Kale, president of the Bombay Goods Transport Association (BGTA), expects freight rates to rise by 10 per cent. "There will be an immediate increase of 10 per cent but subsequent hikes will only take place after we calculate costs from region to region. We are in talks with associations all over the country. Eventually, rates will rise by 12 per cent but no hikes will take place unilaterally and without dialogue with other associations and markets," he said. The BGTA accounts for nearly 15 lakh trucks supplying fruits and vegetables to vendors across the city.

However, he said there will not be a blanket hike in freight rates. "The percentage of increase will vary from sector to sector and on what commodities each vehicle will transport. The calculations will be complex because diesel is a part of the operational costs of a transport company," he said.

The BGTA and its parent body All India Motor Transport Congress (AIMTC) located in New Delhi will meet in Mumbai on Tuesday to chalk out their response to the fuel hike and finalise the new rates.

"We tried speaking to the transport ministry but have received no response so far. Before the hike, fuel accounted for nearly half of our operational costs, now it will rise to 65 per cent. The fuel hike will result in a secondary hike of tyres, grease and lubricants," said Kultaran Singh Atwal, AIMTC vice-president.

However, Ashok Walunj, chairman of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) in Vashi, said the hike would come into force from Monday and prices would vary across the city. "Prices have risen by Rs 6.15 in Navi Mumbai. Accordingly, we have told vendors in Mumbai to fix new rates between an additional Rs 2 and 5. There will be different rates in different areas as the cost of transportation differs," he said.

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