Prices of vegetables are likely to go up in the city with the lorry strike started on Sunday midnight. The Lorry Owners’ Welfare Federation has called the strike demanding a 30-percent hike in the rent with the increase in diesel price. If inter-state services too join the strike, it would adversely affect the market on the whole.
Kalady Aji, president of Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi Kothuval Street unit said: “The exact picture of the lorry strike can be assessed only after Tuesday. On Monday, around 20 loads of vegetables arrived at Chalai market. Yet, this cannot be considered as a positive note as many of them are loads that have started from places such as Coimbatore, Erode and Chennai from Friday.”
One of the major concerns for price rise from the traders side is the method of transportation adopted for fetching vegetables. “When lorry strike was held before, the merchandise was brought to the market by train and bus to meet the emergency situation. But that did not suffice the need as only a small quantity could be carried in that manner,” says Aji. The sellers too fear that this in turn may lead to a price rise.
“When lorry strike was held before, some four traders of us here went to the Nagercoil market together and brought vegetables in goods autorickshaws. Around two-and-a-half tons of vegetables were carried in this manner that lasted for two days. But the sky-rocketing prices on those days occurred as we had to buy it from the open markets at the rate they levied for vegetables. Things would have gone worse if they were carried via rail,” says B Ramaswamy, a wholesale vegetable merchant at Chalai.
Peringamala Ramachandran, vice-president of Kerala Vyapari Vyavasayi Ekopana Samithi said: “At present, we have not planned any discussions with the lorry owners. If the strike continues, we may consider discussing the issue with them.”