Chennai may soon get vegetables on wheels. The Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection department plans to procure vans as part of its efforts to provide vegetables at a nominal rate to city residents.
The mobile shops, which will be part of the farm fresh consumer outlets initiative, will be operated by Triplicane Urban Cooperative Society and will begin operating in a month, said officials.
The initiative will be yet another attempt to regulate skyrocketing vegetable prices. The farm fresh outlets, which began functioning on June 20 in 29 locations, aim to promote a direct link between farmers and consumers.
The department has sent a proposal to the central government seeking funds under the National Agriculture Development Project. Sources in the department said that five vehicles may be purchased at a total cost of Rs. 70 lakh. Of these, two will be used in the city. One of them will traverse the Mylapore, Mandaveli, Kotturpuram and Thiruvanmiyur route while the other would pass through Koaymbedu, Vadapalani, Alwarthiru Nagar and Valasaravakkam.
The remaining three vehicles will be used to procure vegetables from farmers in areas such as Krishnagiri, Dindigul and Udhagamandalam. Now, vegetables are bought from these places through hired vehicles, the use of which adds to their cost.
Meanwhile, farm fresh outlets in various areas, including Shenoy Nagar and Washermanpet, have so far sold 800 tonnes of vegetables worth Rs.2.10 crore.
The outlet at Chintamani co-operative stores owned by the Park Town Co-operative Wholesale Stores has made the maximum sales among the outlets followed by those run by TUCS at Teynampet and Triplicane.
In some outlets, consumers said adequate stock of vegetables was not available. Officials of the department said that the prices from markets of six areas, including Adyar, Koyambedu and Kothwal Bazaar, are obtained to arrive at the rate in the farm fresh outlets.