G.V.R. Subba Rao

Price of red gram shoots up to Rs 95 a kg compared to the Rs. 45 last year

VIJAYAWADA: The year 2009 has turned topsy-turvy the household budget of the people, leaving them both harried and troubled, with the prices of vegetables and essential commodities hitting an all-time high. The common man’s expenditure on just vegetables rose to Rs.30 to Rs. 50 a day.

Vegetables have become so expensive that, sometimes, the commoner felt that meat was comparatively cheaper, even to pulses and rice. The price of red gram has shot up to Rs 95 a kg compared to the Rs. 45 last year. The prices of other pulses too doubled. The rice, two years ago, was being sold at Rs.16 a kg, and this year, it is being sold between Rs.35 and Rs.40. There is no respite from the skyrocketing prices of chicken, eggs and tea powder. Even the cost of sugar cost jumped to Rs.38.

The prices if not just of onions, but even tomatoes, potatoes, colacassia have gone up. Beans, a favourite with many were sold at a highest price of Rs.50 a kg in Rythu Bazaars during May. Though, its price came down to Rs. 10 in December it was sold at Rs. 27 a kg through out the year.

At the Rythu Bazaars, the rate of tomatoes hovered around Rs. 10 per kg through out the year and touched Rs. 15 in June. The retail vendors made a killing and sold the tomatoes in the range of Rs. 20 and Rs. 35 a kg.

Likewise, the prices of onions hovered in the range of Rs. 9 to Rs. 16 at Rythu Bazaars, while it was sold anywhere between Rs. 20 to Rs. 35 in retail market.

The middle and lower middle class were the worst affected. The prices made the consumers go a few steps further to crop their budgets. The vegetables have become so expensive that they stopped stocking the vegetables it in the refrigerator. The people either stopped purchasing the vegetables and switched over to leafy vegetables or slashed consumption. The leafy vegetables that were sold at Rs. 2 in retail market last year, is now sold at Rs. 5. The families are now forced to rethink their daily menus, and many altered their menu by making one vegetable dish with rice.