Phailin triggers panic buying in Bhubaneswar - The New Indian Express

Phailin triggers panic buying in Bhubaneswar

Published: 11th October 2013 10:03 AM

Last Updated: 11th October 2013 10:24 AM

Cyclonic storm Phailin has triggered panic buying among people with vegetable prices spiralling at an alarming rate and essential commodities vanishing off the shelves.

Though green vegetables are available at almost normal rate, onions and potatoes have disappeared from markets. While potatoes were selling at around Rs 12 per kg on Wednesday, it rose to Rs 18 by Thursday noon.

Onions, similarly, were selling at the retail rate of over Rs 50 per kg. With people buying potatoes and onions in bulk, there has been a shortage of these vegetables in all 10 major markets in Bhubanewar.

President of the Unit-I Daily Market Association Gayadhar Swain said onions were already selling at a high price due to Telangana issue, but the prices further soared due to hype about the approaching cyclone. “On Wednesday morning markets were empty, but by evening people came out in large number to buy vegetables. While potato was selling at Rs 10 a kg in the morning, the price rose to Rs 13 by evening. On Thursday morning, it sold at Rs 16 to Rs 18 a kg,” he said.

On an average, the Capital City requires 600 bags of potatoes, each bag containing 50 kg, daily. “But between Wednesday evening and Thursday noon, we sold over 1,000 bags of potatoes,” said Santosh Sahoo, a vendor in Unit I market.

While a major chunk of potatoes is brought from cold storages in Midnapur and Bardhaman in West Bengal, a meagre quantity is procured from cold storage at Damana, Bhubaneswar.

Demand for onions has also gone up and so has the price. Since it is raining in Karnataka, from where onions are sourced to Odisha, the supply has been hit. Considering the demand since Wednesday morning, retailers have hiked onion price to over Rs 50 per kg.

On Thursday, pointed gourd was selling at Rs 36 per kg, tomatoes Rs 27, beans Rs 60, brinjals Rs 50 and lady finger at Rs 40 per kg. Vendors said markets have adequate stock of vegetables but if it rains in next two days, the stocks will be damaged.

The scene was similar at grocery shops. Long queues of people were found in front of such shops and many malls. There was a mad rush for kerosene, candles and dry food like flattened rice, puffed rice and food grains.

“We are buying chhatua (a powder of cereals), flattened rice, potatoes and other vegetables, candles and kerosene to meet an emergency-like situation, which we had encountered during the 1999 Super Cyclone. It was impossible to come out of home because of intermittent rain and gusty wind. This time, we want to stay prepared,” said Jyotirmayee Rath, a homemaker.

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