Even on the second day of the token strike called by the lorry owners, there wasn’t much of a major hike in the prices of fruits and vegetables in the city.
Though there were rumours about a possible price rise of vegetables and groceries due to the lorry stir following diesel price hike, the rates remained more or less the same.
“Today the lorries came with goods and hence there was no need for a price hike. But it could have an impact soon as they will demand freight charge hike. The price of rice could go up. In other states, the lorry owners are demanding a 15 percent hike,” said Venkatesh Pai of Kerala Merchants Union.
When enquired about the rumours of surge in prices, vegetable dealers at the Broadway market reported minimal or no changes at all. Most of the shopkeepers felt that there has been no change in the number of lorries bringing vegetables to the state, and as long as the situation continues there is no need to panic.
The merchants also ruled out the possibility of an immediate price hike.
“The increase in diesel prices is definitely an issue of concern. However, so far there is no increase in vegetable prices. They have not come up with any official demand to increase freight charges,” said N H Shameed, secretary of the Merchant Stall Owners Association.
It has been pointed out that there is an average diesel use of about 300 litres per return trip for a goods lorry coming from the neighbouring states. The hike would result in an additional burden of approximately `1,500 per lorry, each carrying about 300 sacks. While the merchants from neighbouring states are demanding a hike of `15 per sack, the attempt is to keep it below `3. “If at all there is a hike, it would be minimal - 50 paise per kilo. It is expected to come into effect in the coming days.
On the attempts to hike prices by vendors outside the market, vice-president of Merchant Stall Owners Association K K Ashraf said the association would take action against them.