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Rise in vegetable prices casts shadow over festival mood in the city

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Hardly happy: Escalating prices have forced many people to cut down their budget for vegetables. Customers at the Kothavalchavadi market on Tuesday.
Hardly happy: Escalating prices have forced many people to cut down their budget for vegetables. Customers at the Kothavalchavadi market on Tuesday.

K. Lakshmi

CHENNAI: Though the festive season is already here, the excitement is yet to catch up with many families in the city. The escalating cost of vegetables is probably one of the reasons.

Pumpkin is among the most expensive vegetables in the market this month. While it is priced at Rs.9 a kg at the wholesale market, customers have to shell out at least Rs.25 to buy a pumpkin weighing 2 kg at the retail market.

The wholesale market receives about 90-100 tonnes of pumpkins every day mainly from Kumbakonam, Krishnagiri and Salem. With ‘Ayudha Pooja’ round the corner, the demand has increased and pushed up its price, according to wholesale vendors.

The spiralling cost of vegetables has come as a strain on the budget of many households.

Thangam Natarajan, a senior citizen residing in Korattur, said, “I used to spend Rs.150 on a week’s supply of vegetables last year. The budget has doubled now though I have cut out expensive vegetables. I bought brinjal and yam for Rs.20 and Rs.28 a kg in a neighbouring retail store.”

While a kg of potatoes cost Rs.19-Rs.20 in the wholesale market, it is priced at Rs.23-25 a kg in retail shops. Wholesale vendors said that the Koyambedu market received its supply from Uttar Pradesh owing to fewer yields in Tamil Nadu.

Many residents said that of late, even lemons have become costly. A small-sized lemon is priced at Rs.4. Similarly, the wholesale rate of broad beans and beans is Rs.20 a kg and sold for Rs.26 a kg in many areas. Bananas, which were sold for Rs.1 a piece last month are sold for Rs.2-Rs.3 at the wholesale market.

However, onions and tomatoes are available for a relatively lower price at Rs.12 a kg in Koyambedu market. Wholesale vendors said that the same price would be sustained till early January.

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