Truckers' stir has no impact on fruits, vegetables

NEW DELHI, AUG. 21. Even as the Delhi Government evoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in view of the nationwide strike by truckers, the price line of fruits, vegetables and essential commodities remained stable in Delhi. Arrivals at the various markets, including the Fruit and Vegetable Market at Azadpur, were normal and traders discounted the possibility of shortage in the next three to four days.

Arrival of apples and other fruits from Himachal Pradesh continued as usual and the supply of local vegetables was also normal. Trading in fruits and vegetables at Azadpur market was routine and no increase in prices was witnessed during the day. The Delhi Government has already issued instructions to monitor the price line of various items and has warned traders against hoarding of commodities. According to the Shimla Apple Merchants Association general secretary, Girdhari Lal, no undue increase was witnessed in the prices of apple, peach and other fruits. He said nearly 340 apple- laden trucks arrived from Shimla district and 180 from Kullu Valley of Himachal Pradesh as usual. He ruled out the possibility of any price rise in the next few days and said even the loading of these commodities for various regions was carried out, indicating that the strike had little impact on the movement of fruits.

Similarly, the situation was also stable on the vegetables price front. However, if the strike continues for another three to four days, things could change. According to the Vegetable Merchants Association general secretary, Bhajan Singh, arrivals of local vegetables were sufficient for the time being to meet the demand in the Capital. However, if the strike stretches, then the prices could start going up especially those of tomato, onion and potato. At present, he said the market had in its stock 156 truck-loads of onion. He said if the truckers stop loading in Himachal Pradesh and other adjoining States then the vegetable prices could go up.

On the other hand, the movement of trucks into Delhi and from the Capital continued without any disruption. Traders in the various markets informed that transporters were making trucks available to them but on the condition that they would not be responsible for any damage to the goods. In the normal course, the safety of goods till its destination rests with the transporters concerned. Similarly, traders said that individual truck owners were coming forward to offer their services during the strike period and as such the movement of fruits and essential commodities to and from Delhi had not been hampered.

For its part, the police are keeping a constant vigil against any attempts by any section of the strikers to disrupt the normal running of trucks. As ESMA had been evoked, the police have warned that any unwanted activity would invite strict action.