Pest attacks, heavy rain and lack of arrivals have pushed the prices of ordinary vegetables beyond the reach of the common man in the present Tamil month of Adi when Hindus follow strict vegetarian diet, sources said.
Gudiyattam vegetable traders’ association president VME Javed Ahamed said, “We get very small quantities of vegetables and that is the reason why the prices have shot up drastically. As against 1.50 tonnes of bringal arrivals daily, the market received only 200 kilos, whereas broad beans (avarakkai) arrivals were only 500 kilos against the normal 2 tonnes. On Sunday, retail prices of broad beans was Rs 100 per kilo.”S Murthy of Chittoor gate area said, “the lockdown rendered many of us jobless and with vegetables hitting the roof we do not know what to do.” While tomatoes and onion prices are stable “they are only added as ingredients when cooking other vegetables and cannot be consumed as individual vegetable,” said housewife SM Lalitha.
While brinjals cost Rs 90 per kilo, beans cost Rs 50, potatoes Rs 30 and carrots Rs 80 (I quality) and Rs 60 (II quality) per kg. Even the humble ridge gourd (peerkangkai) which usually costs less than Rs 20 now sells for Rs 50 locals lamented.
“The 200 wholesale and retail outlets in the bazaar lack customers as most shops have stocks without buyers,” lamented Javed Ahamed.