LUCKNOW: Pricey tomatoes today spurred a fresh round of protests by Congress workers who parked a cart full of tomatoes in front of the UP Legislative Assembly and sold the kitchen staple at Rs 10 per kg.
The party had earlier come up with a "State Bank of Tomato" that is being operated from the Youth Congress office here.
Tomato prices have hovered around Rs 100 per kg in major cities with supplies being disrupted due to heavy rains.
Congress workers led by state secretary Shailendra Tiwari stood in front of the Assembly with a cart full of tomatoes with a banner "Tamatar ke aaye acche din" (good days have come for tomatoes) and sold it at Rs 10 per kg per person.
"This is our way to protest the soaring tomato price.We are selling it to the common man to show our concern for them. It's ironical that the government has not taken any initiative to open subsidised counters for selling tomatoes or to check its price," Tiwari said.
The 'tomato bank' has some interesting schemes to offer like providing the commodity on easy loan as also a locker facility, 80 per cent loans on tomatoes and attractive interest rates for depositing tomatoes, especially for the poor.
The idea behind the bank is to lodge a protest and to create awareness among the people about the commodity being sold at such high rates.
Prices of tomato have shot up about four times since the beginning of June when tomatoes were being sold at about Rs 25 per kg in the Delhi-National Capital Region market.
Industry body Assocham had said recently that "Tomato prices may not immediately ease as flooding in some of the growing states has led to damage to the crop."
Unlike onion and potato, the shelf life of tomato is very short and it needs cold chains and modern warehouses for storage and transportation, it said.
Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal and Odisha are the major tomato growing states.
The country produces around 18 million tonnes of tomatoes.