This year, the vegetable market received fewer loads as crop yields were down due to deficit rainfall

The hike in diesel price will have a cascading effect on household budgets as cost of essential commodities may escalate.

The city is bound to feel the pinch of the diesel price hike over the next two days, said wholesale traders and truckers. Confederation of Surface Transport, Tamil Nadu, plans to organise a demonstration next week demanding withdrawal of centre’s decision.

Vegetables and fruits are sold at a cheaper rate due to surplus arrivals during winter months. But this year, the market was receiving fewer loads of produce as crop yields were down by about 20 per cent owing to deficit rainfall.

The fuel price hike would add more burden on traders as transportation charges would increase by 5 per cent and this, in turn, would be passed on to retail vendors and consumers.

However, paddy rice dealers said the increase in diesel cost may not have immediate effect on rice unlike vegetables that are perishable goods.

P. Thulasingam of Federation of Tamil Nadu Rice Mill Owners and Paddy Rice Dealers Association said rice could be stocked for a month and the fuel cost would have a marginal impact.

Truck owners and water lorry operators said they would suffer a 15 per cent to 20 per cent loss but the burden would not be shifted to consumers immediately. The increase in fuel cost would have a cascading effect on the cost of spare parts, including tyres.

R. Sugumar, regional president of Confederation of Surface Transport, Tamil Nadu, said that nearly 15,000 heavy vehicles that are operated in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram.

“We cannot increase the freight charges as many lorries transport goods once in two days. Representatives from various states of All India Motor Transport Congress are meeting at Amritsar in February to decide on the issue,” he said.

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