Citizens struggle as vegetables become unaffordable

Staff Reporters

ITANAGAR, 17 Apr: Blame it on the rise in transportation cost because of increase in fuel prices or the incessant rains in the recent past resulting in crop damage, the prices of green vegetables are spiralling upwards in Itanagar and adjoining areas, leaving both the consumers and the sellers struggling.

At present, no vegetable, barring a few, costs less than Rs 100 per kg.

While the price of bhat karela (teasle gourd) and garlic hit the Rs 200 per kg mark, green chilli, peas, potol (pointed gourd), French beans, beetroot, bhindi (ladyfinger), broccoli, capsicum, bitter gourd and squash are being sold at Rs 120 and above per kg in Itanagar.

A bunch of lai patta, which was earlier sold at Rs 20, is now being sold at Rs 50 – a hike of more than 50 percent – at the Sunday market on Zoo Road.

While the price of carrot has gone up by Rs 40, up to to Rs 80 per kg, the prices of cauliflower and cabbage rose to Rs 80 and Rs 60 from Rs 60 and Rs 40, respectively, a few weeks ago.

The prices of bitter gourd, beans and bhindi spiked to Rs 160 per kg in Doimukh, while peas and beetroot are being sold at Rs 100 and Rs 80, respectively. The prices of cabbage increased to Rs 70 from Rs 30 on Saturday in the markets of Doimukh. Even lemons are being sold at higher rates.

While the prices are not uniform and vary from market to market and vendors to vendors, the unregulated prices of vegetables are burning deep holes in consumers.

The consumers often allege that the vendors here charge double the prices in Assam and sometimes fix the rates at their convenience.

According to the sellers, “vegetable prices have shot up because of crop damage due to incessant rains, resulting in shortage of supply.” They claimed that there has been an upsurge in the wholesale prices of all types of vegetables in recent times.

“When the wholesale rates increase, we have to increase the retail prices too,” they said, adding that most of the vegetables come from Assam’s Harmutty, Nowgong and Kharupetia, and from Meghalaya.

While the poor are finding it difficult to make both ends meet because of the soaring prices, the vendors too are struggling to sell their items due to the limited purchasing capacity of most of the consumers.

The district administration regulates the prices of essential commodities, including vegetables, from time to time, when there is hue and cry over the increasing prices. But the vendors never abide by the prices fixed by the administration, citing various reasons.

The following are some of the vegetables, along with their current market prices (per kg) in Itanagar and Doimukh, respectively.

Tomato : Rs 50
Jika (ridge gourd): Rs 80
Bitter gourd : Rs 100 and between Rs 120 and Rs 160
Onion : Rs 40
Beetroot : Rs 120 and Rs 80
Green chilli : Rs 140
Potato : Rs 30
French beans : Rs 120 and Rs 160
Bhindi : Rs 100 and Rs 160
Cauliflower : Rs 80
Cabbage : Rs 60 and Rs 70
Cucumber : Rs 60
Garlic : Rs 200
Ginger : Rs 120
Potol : Rs 140
Peas : Rs 140 and Rs 100
Carrots : Rs 80
Squash : Rs 120
Capsicum/bell pepper: Rs 120
Brinjal : Rs 60
Broccoli : Rs 120