KOLKATA: The prices of vegetables have doubled since Yaas had inundated vast tracts of farmland in south Bengal. The diesel price, which has shot through the roof to hover around Rs 90 a litre, is making the matter worse. With another major spring tide lurking around the corner (on June 28), the prices are unlikely to plunge any time soon.
“Majority of the farmers in south and some in North 24 Parganas are yet to grow vegetables on their land. They have only managed to pump out the water from their land. The vegetables you are finding in the markets are mostly coming from Hooghly, Nadia, Burdwan. Greater the distance, steeper is the transportation cost, leaving vegetables costlier,” said West Bengal Vegetable Vendors’ Association president Kamal Dey.
Prices of some common vegetables have literally set the kitchen budget on fire. “Summer has limitations as far as the variety of vegetables is concerned. So, you have to pick either a ridged gourd or snake gourd, brinjal or green papaya, cucumber or parwal. But each of them will give you a shock. I am spending the same amount to buy half of what I used to get before Yaas,” said Sumit Mazumdar, a school teacher.
“If you don’t buy vegetables, you end up consuming only potatoes, which can trigger blood sugar level if you are diabetic,” said Shankar Dasgupta, a retired banker.
“The lockdown and diesel prices have left the transportation cost spiralling. The prices are unlikely to drop if the suburban trains don’t resume services,” said Gopal Sonkar, a wholesaler at Koley Market. “Transportation cost has risen by fivesix times,” added Amol Das, a retailer at Barisha Market.
Dilip Mondal, a Gariahat market retailer, added: “Prices are high because vendors are bringing less vegetables as the window for selling them is only three hours. Nobody wants to hold back unsold vegetables. The withdrawal of the curbs will ease the supply line.”