Chennai

Veggies cheaper, meat prices soar

The T. Nagar vegetable market began functioning from a ground opposite Natesan Park on Monday.

The T. Nagar vegetable market began functioning from a ground opposite Natesan Park on Monday.   | Photo Credit: S_R_Raghunathan

Traders in Koyambedu wholesale market said the prices had dropped by about 10%

While prices of several vegetables dropped on Monday, meat was sold at an exorbitant rate in the city.

Transportation played a significant role in the availability of the produce and in determining the price, said traders. The retail market in T. Nagar near the Mambalam railway station was shifted to a playground in front of Dr. Natesan Park where around 25 makeshift shops were set up. This came as a relief to the consumers who were able to buy vegetables at low prices. The market will run from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. till the lockdown is lifted.

Shenbagam, a vegetable seller, said the price of vegetables were the same as in the market.

“I pay ₹200 to ₹300 to transport vegetables from Koyambedu market. I have made only that much today. There are no facilities or even a toilet here,” she said.

Murugan, a fruit seller, said the returns from his investment would be meagre. A person had been posted to safeguard shops.

At the Koyambedu wholesale market too, vegetables were sold for prices that were 10% lower on Monday. It received only 200-230 truckloads of vegetables against its normal 450 truckloads.

S. Chandran, president, Koyambedu Wholesale Vegetable Market Association, said most traders brought fewer trucks because there were not many takers.

Only 20%-30% of the retail traders from other places such as Kancheepuram, Arni and Arakkonam visited the market due to restrictions in vehicle movement.

Stock clearance

Most vegetables were sold at a nominal rate to reduce stock as sales was restricted to stipulated time. A few vegetables, including beans, were priced high up to ₹40 a kg in wholesale market due to shortage, he said.

The association had been providing free lunch for 1,000 labourers as food availability was a challenge because of lockdown.

Mutton prices hovered between ₹1,000 and ₹ 1,400 a kg and chicken between ₹200 and ₹230 a kg.

According to Jaikumar, a meat vendor at T. Nagar, logistics was a major hassle.

Saraswathi, who runs a meat stall on Boag Road, said: “We buy goats from Poonamallee. After the coronavirus scare, we are finding it difficult to get goats. We usually buy a goat for ₹7,500. Today, we shelled out ₹9,000 for a goat that weighed 8.5 kg.”

According to estimates, sales of poultry, mutton and fish market in Chennai alone was pegged at ₹2,500 crore. Nishanth Chandran, CEO, Tendercuts, said that mutton prices had gone up because of demand. The supply got restricted because many villagers could not sell their livestock in sandhai.

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Printable version | May 31, 2020 1:32:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/veggies-cheaper-meat-prices-soar/article31211889.ece

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