Hoarding by traders and poor crop in some areas led to the price rise
NEW DELHI: Increased arrivals of tomatoes at the New Azadpur Subzi Mandi here have had a positive impact on the prices. The prices in the wholesale market that had been hovering around Rs.35 to Rs.40 per kg a few days ago came down to around Rs.22 per kg for the best quality tomatoes on Tuesday.
Though Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had claimed on Sunday that the rise in prices had been caused by hoarding by traders, the poor crop in some areas and damage caused by the recent unseasonal rain had badly affected the tomato crop leading to the present situation. Coupled with this, the massive margins being taken by the retail sellers had aggravated the situation.
"Everybody knew that tomatoes were in short supply and that is why the price rise. But the huge headlines in the newspapers and TV channels provided an opportunity to retail traders and supplies to make a killing and create an artificial shortage and hence the unprecedented price rise,'' a wholesale trader remarked.
The tomato arrivals rose from 225 tonnes last week to 300 tonnes on Tuesday morning having a sobering effect on the price line. The prices that were ruling around Rs.35 to Rs.40 per kg in the wholesale markets have now come down substantially.
Interestingly, with the increased arrivals from Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh in addition to the local production, the prices came down to as low as Rs.6 and a maximum of Rs.22. According to Food and Supplies Minister Raj Kumar Chauhan, the situation is slowly returning to normal and with huge arrivals expected from Himachal Pradesh next month, the prices would drop further.
The Minister said that while the tomatoes from Himachal Pradesh sold at Rs.16 to Rs.21 per kg, those from Haryana were selling at Rs.6 to Rs.21. In the case of the crop from Rajasthan, the price hovered around Rs. 13.75 to Rs.14 per kg; from Maharashtra Rs.16 to Rs.21 and from Karnataka Rs.18 to Rs.19. The impact was immediately visible within the retail trade in the Azadpur Market where 5 kg of tomatoes were selling at Rs.140, making it around Rs.28 per kg from the Rs.35 to Rs.40 per kg last week.
In addition, Mr. Chauhan said the wholesale outlets opened by the Delhi Government at various places in the Capital including one at Players Building, Delhi Secretariat, were attracting a huge rush. The Government is selling tomatoes at Rs. 20 per kg at these outlets.
Mr. Chauhan said there was constant monitoring of the price situation of other essential commodities. He warned hoarders against indulging in black-marketing of such products.