KENDRAPARA: Cyclone Bulbul is long gone but residents of the coastal district are still reeling as prices of vegetables have sky-rocketed in its aftermath. The soaring prices have been blamed on large-scale crop loss suffered by vegetable growers due to the five-day long incessant rain and gusty wind under the impact of the cyclone.
Sources said tomato, which was sold at Rs 25 per kg last month, is now available for Rs 50 per kg. Similarly, the price of pointed gourd has also doubled from Rs 20 per kg last month to Rs 40 per kg. Pumpkin, which was being sold at Rs 15 per kg before the cyclone, is now priced at Rs 30 per kg. The prices of okra, bean and other local varieties of vegetables have also increased.
Vegetable prices have been climbing up at a fast pace over the past few days as Cyclone Bulbul damaged vast tracts of vegetable farms in Rajnagar, Aul, Rajkanika and Mahakalapada blocks of the district. This has led to the steep rise in prices, said Ghanashyam Sahoo, a local vegetable trader.
“Bulbul came as a bolt from the blue and left many farmers devastated. My three acre vegetable field was inundated by the rains induced by the cyclone. There is no way to recover from the loss,” said Bijaya Sahoo, another vegetable grower of Rajkanika.
Secretary of the district unit of Krusaka Sabha Umesh Chandra Singh said now is a difficult time for vegetable growers. The large-scale crop loss will have a bearing on the economy of vegetable growers and they will find it hard to recover from the blow, he added.
The price rise has also left consumers worried. “The sudden rise in prices of vegetables has disturbed our budget. We have cut down on use of important vegetables while preparing meals in out kitchen,” said Tapan Parida, an employee of the Education department in Kendrapara.
District Emergency Officer Sambit Satpathy informed that vegetable crops over 118 hectare (ha) of land in the district have been affected in cyclone Bulbul. The State Government has fixed compensation of `13,500 for each ha of land. All the affected vegetable growers will get the compensation soon. The Government will also provide loans and other support to vegetable growers, he said.