Patna: Radhika Sinha, Savita Devi, Kunti Kumari and Anjum Ara, all home makers from across Bihar, share one thing in common—they are all facing the brunt of soaring onion and vegetable prices. The situation is so bad that they have been forced to cut down their consumption of onions and other vegetables, as their household budget is being affected.
Onion is selling at Rs 80 per kg in the retail market while the situation is not much better in the wholesale market at Rs 70 per kg. The prices of green vegetables is also not too different. While Cauliflower per piece is Rs 30 to 40, pumpkin per piece is being sold at Rs 30 to 40, brinjal is Rs 40 to 50 kg and tomato is being sold at Rs 50 to 60 per kg.
“We are unable to understand the reason behind the high prices of onions and vegetables after the festival season this time. Usually after the Chhath (popular Hindu festival in Bihar), which marks the end of the festival season, the prices of vegetables come down. But, this time it is going up,” Radhika, a contractual school teacher and a resident of Patna, said.
Savita, a resident of Gaya district, told NewsClick that the rising prices of onion and vegetables are affecting the household budget badly. “We are facing the real hit as the prices are beyond our reach. We have been forced to cut down consumption at the cost of reducing daily intake of minerals,vitamins and other nutritions,” she said.
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Kunti, a resident of Muzaffarpur district, echoed similar worries. She said, “This time it is unusual for us. As the winter season has begun and the festive season ended, the harvest of paddy is underway. However, the soaring prices are giving us sleepless nights/.” A mother of four children, Kunti stays with her ageing in-laws, while her husband works in a garment factory in Tamil Nadu.
Meanwhile Anjum Ara, whose husband is a havildar in the Bihar police, said, “The prices have jumped to double in the last one week. A week ago onion was selling at Rs 40 to 50 per kg and vegetables at Rs 20 to 30 per kg.”
According to an onion and potato wholesale trader Suresh Sao, price of onions in the wholesale market has gone up to Rs 70 per kg which was Rs 35 to 40 per kg last week. He said prices of potato have also surged to Rs 30 from Rs 20 to 25 .
Qasim Alam, a retailer of onion, potato and vegetables at Muthapur market near Patna railway station, said, “Onion prices have gone up by Rs 10 to 20 in the last two days itself.”
It should be noted that the brunt of the surge is being borne by the working classes including the families of labourers, and daily wage workers, as onions, potatoes and vegetables form an integral part of their daily diet.
Brijender Yadav, a labourer, said that people like him have been forced to stop using onion and vegetables. “We are managing without vegetables these days. How can we purchase costly onions and vegetables which are out of reach of our pocket?,” he questioned.
Mahesh Prasad, a hawker who sells hawa-mithai (candy floss) for children, asked, “How can we purchase such costly onion and vegetables? My daily earning is Rs 100 to 125, if I spend Rs 50 on vegetables, how will I afford rice and flour for my family of five three times a day?”
Also read: What is Behind Sky-High Onion Prices?
This trend of increasing prices of these essential vegetables is expected to continue in the coming days with the government not bringing any measures to bring its price down. In Bihar, onion is imported mainly from Maharashtra and South Indian states. But most of green vegetables are being cultivated locally in the state.