In line with the state government’s recent policy to ensure citizens receive vegetables at a lower price, the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) yesterday set the ball rolling by dispatching 11 trucks loaded with greens to 11 government-controlled cooperative outlets across the city.
Around 11,000 kg of various veggies were sent to the vendors in a move that is aimed at reducing the pinch on the pockets of the common man due to the impact of rising prices of vegetables. These vegetables would retail at prices cheaper than the prevailing market rates.
Authorities said the main reason for the initiative was to stem price manipulation by retailers and by their latest move they hope to weed out middlemen who manipulate prices. However, a minimal charge to cover the costs of transportation and labour has been added to the price of vegetables. Although the city’s residents have praised the initiative, their only gripe is the condition set by the authorities that would allow buyers to purchase only 5 kg of vegetables.
Authorities said the stipulation was essential to limit citizens from hoarding veggies thereby giving more people access to the subsidised vegetables.
Fourteen different types of vegetables were dispatched, which included onions, potatoes, tomatoes, coriander, cauliflower, cabbage, brinjal and ladyfinger to name a few.
Avinash Patil, deputy secretary, APMC, said that they plan to increase the number of outlets in the coming days. “If all goes well then from the current 11 outlets, we hope to increase the number to 200 in a few weeks time. This initiative would, however, continue for at least a month. We are also taking precautions to ensure that the vegetables are graded before they are sent out to these outlets,” said Patil.
When asked about the 5-kg limit, Patil said, “We want everyone to benefit from the initiative. In order to dissuade people from buying large quantities, each person would be allowed to purchase only up to 5 kg of greens.”
Keeping a watch
To ensure no foul play at the outlets, 11 APMC vegetable traders stationed themselves at the stores. Ajit Borhade, one of the traders who was manning Ghatkopar’s Pant Nagar outlet, said that on a regular day, they have no control of the rates fixed by retailers. He said that with vegetables being sold at discounted prices at cooperative societies, customers would be in a better position to demand from other retailers to sell vegetables at a lesser rate. “We want to appeal to people not to purchase vegetables at a higher rate than which is being sold at these outlets,” said Borhade. The traders have also been tasked with ensuring that no customers are allowed to purchase more than the stipulated 5 kg.
Shankar Pingale, director, APMC vegetable market, said that they have tried their best to keep the vegetables rate within the Rs 40 mark, so that the common man does not feel the pinch. “The vegetable prices have drastically risen recently and retailers were taking full advantage of the situation. These select outlets spread across key areas in the city would help in making the greens affordable to the common man.” APMC officials also notified that by 8 pm last evening all the leafy vegetables were sold out at all 11 outlets, barring some quantities of potatoes and onions.
MiD DAY’s Nigel Buthello visited two of the cooperative outlets where the greens were being sold after they were thrown open to the public
Apna Bazar, Ghatkopar
Not many of the people were aware that the veggies were being sold at a lesser price here. There was a board at the entrance of the shop where the prices of the veggies were displayed. Certain vegetables like tomatoes, potatoes and onions were sold only in kgs, while others were available in lesser quantity as well.
Apna Bazar, Andheri West
All the vegetables were on the verge of getting over with barely anything left. Onions, tomatoes and tendli were only remaining. The prices here again were prominently displayed outside the shop.
I stay in the vicinity and as soon as I got to know that vegetables are being sold at a cheaper rate, I came here. The quality of the vegetables is also good and comparatively cheaper than the prevailing market price.
— Minal Mistry
I visited the outlet hoping to buy many vegetables, but all I could get were tendlis. However, the vegetables look fresh and are cheaper, so I will be back tomorrow albeit a little early to buy other vegetables.
— Savita Kale
I came here after a neighbour told me the vegetables were fresh. But most of the vegetables were sold and I was unable to buy anything.
— Krishna Jadav
Pprices of vegetables yesterday
|APMC Rates||Dadar Mkt Rates|
|Onions||Rs 24/kg||Rs 30/kg|
|Potatoes||Rs 15/kg||Rs 20/kg|
|Tomatoes||Rs 40/kg||Rs 50/kg|
|Green chillies||Rs 30/kg||Rs 60/kg|
|Cauliflower||Rs 19/kg||Rs 60/kg|
|Brinjal||Rs 24/kg||Rs 60/kg|
|Carrot||Rs 24/kg||Rs 40/kg|
|Tendli||Rs 26/kg||Rs 80/kg|
|Cabbage||Rs 19/kg||Rs 30/kg|
*Rates at which vegetables were sold yesterday at all these cooperative stores