Heavy rains send vegetable prices soaring in Chennai


Heavy rains and waterlogging across Chennai have sent vegetable prices soaring in the wholesale Koyambedu market, while prices in the retail vegetable markets too have catapulted.

Tomatoes were priced at Rs 100 per kg, lady’s finger touched the Rs 150 per kg mark, while beans were being sold for Rs 100 per kg in Chennai’s retail markets after heavy rains led to soaring prices of vegetables in the wholesale Koyambedu market.

Almost all the vegetables that were selling at less than Rs 25 per kg are selling for more than Rs 50 per kg now. Carrot is selling at Rs 130 per kg, while capsicum is priced at Rs 120 per kg.

M.K. Abdullah, a wholesale merchant at the Koyamdedu market, told IANS, “The heavy rains that lashed Chennai city have led to a spiralling process. Even locally-grown vegetables have become costlier as there is shortage of labour and most of the crops are under water. Most of the local supply comes from within 100 km radius of Chennai city and vegetables that reach from Karnataka are not expected as trucks are not moving in due to waterlogging in many parts of the city.”

G.D. Rajashekharan, President, Federation of All Associations of Koyambedu Vegetable Market, told IANS, “Heavy downpour has led to shortage of vegetables in the Koyambedu market. We are short by 30 to 40 per cent of our normal supply of locally-grown vegetables. Vegetables from other states are not reaching as trucks are stuck midway due to heavy rains and inundated roads. The spiralling cost will continue for a few more days, it seems.”

Local people are worried over the increase in prices of vegetables in Chennai, which normally has cheap and fresh vegetable supply in good numbers in all the localities.

Manisamy, a wholesale trader at Ayyappa Nagar near Koyambedu market, told IANS, “We procure goods from the Koyambedu market and sell them at a wholesale rate at our shop. However, this time nothing can be done as there is total shortage of vegetables at the Koyambedu market and we are not even getting regular supply. It is tough for people like us to survive and even the price rise would not have affected if there was regular supply.”

With increased prices of vegetables in many areas of Chennai, people have demanded the government to put a price tag on the goods that could be charged from the consumers.

Selvanayagaraj, a retired employee of a public sector undertaking who stays at Pammal, told IANS, “Vegetable prices have touched an all-time high and I don’t know how people like us who lives on pension will be able to survive. All the favourite vegetables in our predominantly vegetarian family are out of reach of the common man. Unless the government takes action, we are not safe.”

With soaring prices of vegetables, people are expecting a hike in prices of essential commodities as well since rains have disrupted truck services, and most essential commodities are being transported in trains.