CHENNAI: With a 6.01 per cent increase in wholesale prices, vegetable, meat and other essential commodities, traders expressed dissatisfaction at the rising rate of inflation with no possible solution in sight to control inflation.
At the Koyambedu market, traders warned consumers that prices could still go up invariably, as diesel prices could go up.
“Traditionally shallots cost more. But, the lack of Bellary onion stocks has resulted in its prices shooting up,” says T Vellaiyan, President of TN Vanigar Sangam Peravai.
“Errant weather conditions in Maharashtra meant that the produce we received were damaged stocks,” he added.
At Rs. 15 per kg, the cost of brinjals, traders believe, will escalate unless it rains, while common onions are sold at Rs. 28 per kg. Inflation in fish prices too have contributed significantly to the overall increase in whole sale prices. “Fishermen were affected by the 45-day fishing ban,” says Naanjil Ravi of National Union of Fishermen Association. “Also, pollution has resulted in loss of fish breeding ground up to 12 nautical miles off of the coast of Tamil Nadu. So, naturally the prices tend to go up,” he maintained before adding that fishermen who invest nearly Rs. 5 lakh into every fishing trip, fail to make even marginal profits nowadays.
However, should the escalating tensions in Iraq turn into a conflict, the consumers should brace for a steep hike in prices of vegetables and commodities, caused as a result of inflated oil prices. India imports nearly 80 per cent of oil from the middle-east. Conflict situations will directly affect the price of petrol and diesel, thus affecting transportation costs incurred on the traders.
Traders also felt that the intense summer conditions, that has affected agriculture adversely across the state in districts such as Cuddalore, Villupuram, Thiruvannamalai, Vellore and Kanchipuram, means that the prospects of crop failure is real, which will only serve to deepen the crisis.
“Both Central and State governments should give priority to the provision of irrigation water to farmers in order to avert a major crisis,” insists Vellaiyan. “They should start with resolving the Cauvery dispute immediately,” he added.