BUTWAL, July 27: Putting the blame on floods, pesticide clearance, and the confusion related to implementation of Vehicle Consignment Tracking System (VCTS), traders in the district have raised vegetable prices exorbitantly.
Currently, no vegetable is available in the market for less than Rs 30 per 250 grams. Price of tomatoes has increased to Rs 150 compared to Rs 50 per kg two weeks ago. Beans are sold for Rs 200 per kg, bitter gourd and okra are priced at Rs 120 per kg, cauliflower Rs 150, green chili Rs 160, and cucumber Rs 150 per kg.
Traders state that due to rains, supply of vegetables has gone down and the demand is not met.
However, despite the consumers paying extremely high prices, farmers are selling vegetables for quite cheap. The fixing of vegetable prices is not in the hands of the farmers, but in the hands of the middlemen. One of the reasons the middlemen give in raising the prices is that the import of vegetables from India has gone down.
Dor Bahadur Gharti, who sells vegetable in Butwal, said that he has to buy vegetables from the middlemen at a high price. “We don’t get to buy vegetables from the farmers. Keeping a profit of Rs 10 to 12 per kg, we sell it to the consumers,” he said.
Consumers have been suffering due to the high prices. “How many days can we run our kitchen by paying Rs 200 for any vegetable item?” asked Jamuna Acharya of Shankarnagar.
Laxman Baidawar from the Forum for Protection of Consumer’s Right said that the middlemen and traders have been involved in black marketing, taking advantage of the situation of the country. “Consumers have to pay Rs 200 for beans, which the farmers sell for Rs 80 per kg. Isn’t this a black marketing?” he questioned.
However, traders claim that the retail prices have gone up due to increase in wholesale prices.
Not only vegetables, but the prices of meat and fish have also gone up. Consumers say that the government has not shown any concern toward monitoring the price hike.
Assistant Chief District Officer of Rupandehi, Bharat Kumar Sharma, said that monitoring has been done in Bhairahawa, and that the authorities will soon monitor the markets of Butwal, Tilottama, and other areas.
As the local units also have a right to monitor and inspect the markets, they should also be carrying out their responsibility to protect the consumers’ rights, he said.