CHENNAI: It’s not just the Mercury that has peaked at 40 degrees. The prices of a few vegetables too have reached new heights as the summer is drying up the supplies to the city’s markets. In the retail stores of the city, beans sells anywhere between Rs 120 and Rs 160 a kg, almost the price of chicken. Tomato sells between Rs 60 and Rs 80. If you are smart, you will have to opt for making dishes out of Kalyana poosanikai (Ash Gourd), whose price has crashed and now sells at just Rs 4 per kg.
Most other favourite veggies are selling in the range of Rs 50 to 70. The wholesale dealers at Koyambedu market say there is a crunch in supply from neighbouring Andhra and Karnataka — something that’s sure to burn a hole in the pockets of Chennaiites this summer.
“Beans were just Rs 40 a few months ago. Now, it’s Rs 120. Only for Kalyana poosanikai the price is low. It used to be Rs 12-14, now it has come down,” says Jyothi Lingam, a wholesale dealer at Koyambedu vegetable market.
Since the December floods, the vegetable prices have been on a see-saw. While the prices peaked during the floods, in the subsequent months it crashed so low that most vegetables were selling at Rs 10 per kg.
The prices have been on a rise since the summer set in, and have been on the upswing from the beginning of kathiri.
“Sales are dull due to price rise, as people are buying less. These rates are going to stay high for at least a month since supplies are not coming in from anywhere,” says R Jaya Murugan, who runs a wholesale shop at Koyambedu market.
The wholesalers buy a box of tomatoes weighing 14-15 kg for Rs 700-800 a box. This is now sold at your local retail shops for Rs 80 a kg.
“There used to be 30-40 vehicles delivering stock for beans every day. Now, there are hardly 10 or 12,” said R Jaya Murugam. The sharpest rise in prices is for chilly, which is currently sold at Rs 90 per kg in the retail market and Rs 80 per kg in whole sale. ”I usually buy potatoes, onions, carrots and beans. Now, I am not buying any of these,” says R Tilakam, a homemaker at Pallavaram who has become choosy like most Chennaiites.