Rain, Games make vegetable prices reach for the ceiling

Excessive rainfall and the upcoming Commonwealth Games have resulted in a sharp rise in vegetable prices across the city. And consumers are not the only ones complaining; even vendors at the Azadpur mandi are having a hard time selling their stock.

Dilip Kumar, a vendor at C Block in the mandi, says, "The potatoes we sell come all the way from Shimla. Earlier, we used to buy one bori (sack) of potatoes at Rs 90 for five kilos from wholesalers. Now, for the same amount of potatoes, the rates are as high as Rs 120."

Vegetable supply from different states has been witnessing a downfall ever since the rains played spoilsport this year. "As a result, vendors like us have no choice but to buy vegetables at the rate specified by big dealers," said Ramsakal, a garlic vendor.

"Wholesale dealers increase the rates of commodities according to their whims and fancies," says Ram Kumar Gurjar, a tomato vendor. Tomatoes are now priced at Rs 30 a kg, a 50 per cent increase from 15 days ago.

Meanwhile, customers are beginning to get irritated. "How can we let the customers bargain?" asks Rakesh Singh, a vendor selling green chillies and ginger at an additional Rs 20 a kilo. Like the other vendors, he comes to Azadpur mandi at 10 am and leaves at 8 pm everyday.

Every vendor in the mandi has to pay 7 per cent tax for each bori of vegetable bought from dealers. But rain is not the only factor playing spoilsport; the Commonwealth Games is equally responsible for consumers having to dig deeper in their pockets for buying vegetables.

Says Kanakram, a vendor at C R Park, "The police have stopped vegetable trucks from entering the city due to security reasons, keeping the upcoming Games in mind."

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