There appears to be no let-up in the prices of vegetables, with many of them adding up a rupee or two in terms of their rates and a step or two higher in terms of their reach to common man. Tomatoes have scaled up from Rs.18 to Rs.26 per kilo, ladies fingers from Rs.20 to Rs.28, and field beans from Rs.26 to Rs.32.
However, French beans have deigned from a high of Rs.50 per kg 10 days ago, though they still cost Rs.38 per kilo—almost cent per cent more than their original price of Rs.20 per kg. Brinjal at Rs.15, and bitter gourd at Rs.17 per kilo have been consistently distancing themselves from the reach of the poor.
“Even green chillies are costing Rs.35 a kg on the pushcarts. Tomatoes are sold at Rs.40 per kg outside rythu bazaars. I am not left with enough time to go to the market after I'm done with my work. So, I buy vegetables from the push cart vendors and end up paying a fortune,” says Sugunamma, a domestic help from New Maruthinagar.
Vegetables to prepare two square meals for her family of four cost Rs.50 in a day, and she put the picture in perspective when she said for the same amount one got a plate of hotel meals a few years ago.
“Non-vegetarian diet has become more affordable these days. Egg costs a little over three rupees, and four eggs make up a delicious meal. They are better than having French Beans or capsicum or carrots,” remarks Sudarshan Reddy, a vegetable shopper at Rythu Bazaar on Sunday.
Even leafy vegetables cost higher, with their bundle size reduced. “Ten days earlier, one would get six to seven bundles for Rs.10 and now it has come down to three or four. Coriander has especially become very costly, with only three small bundles being given for Rs.10,” says Mohd.Rafiuddin, Supervisor at the Kothapet Rythu Bazaar.
He attributes the price rise to the depleting ground water levels in Ranga Reddy and Medak districts from where the city gets its vegetables, and the recent rains that ravaged the crop.
Meanwhile, prices of fruits too have begun to show a tendency to rise, with bananas being sold at Rs.25 per kilogram. Pineapples have become 2.5 times costlier from the earlier Rs.10 apiece to the present Rs.25. This is attributed to reduced yield back in Kerala from where they are brought here.
Mangoes, due to failed crop, are costing 100 per cent more than previous year.
Sweet lemons too are costing 60 per cent higher, with their price up from Rs.50 to Rs.80 per dozen.