Something to chew on: Prices at government centres not so subsidised

Jan 29, 2014, 07:30 IST | Richa Pinto

The public continues to throng the subsidised centres even though prices of vegetables in the retail market are almost the same; residents say fresher, newer vegetables are the reason they opt for these centres and not the open market

On July 9, 2013, giving much respite to the common man from the soaring prices of vegetables, 11 centres were set up across the city where vegetables were sold at subsidised rates. Yesterday, when MiD DAY visited a few of these centres, it appeared as if their popularity hadn’t waned a bit, even though the difference in costs was almost negligible. When asked why, most people who had thronged the centres said that the promise of getting fresher vegetables was what drew them in.

Mantralaya consumer store, Churchgate:
Most of the crowds present at the store were employees of Mantralaya. Prakash Thombre from the Agricultural Produce and Marketing Committee (APMC) said, “Most women come to the centre; by the time they reach home after work, it is very late in the evening. So, they flock here to buy their greens, although prices are almost the same as the retail market. S B Shinde from the Consumer Federation said that an average of 300 people visited the store daily.

Apna Bazar departmental stores, Dadar (East):
Crowds present at the centre outside the Naigaon centre said that presence of vegetables in big numbers was the reason that they came there. Sunil Konke from APMC said, “Initially the quantity of veggies purchased was much more as compared to now. Probably, people opted to go to retail stores. Nevertheless, crowds throng the centre every evening.”

Supari Bagh Madhyavarti Grahak Sangh, Parel:
Even though we reached the centre an hour after it had opened to the public, there was a huge crowd at the centre. Pradeep Patil from the APMC board said that out of the 550 kilograms of vegetables brought to the centre, only 20 kg remain unsold at the end of business. And additionally, every day, the centre receives a fresh, new batch of greens and vegetables.

Apna Bazar departmental stores, Ghatkopar:
In addition to cheaper prices and better quality, an APMC member present at the subsidised centre explained that the presence of an electronic weight machine was one of the reasons why the public chose the centres over the retail market. “The promise of not being duped and the hassles over weights is perhaps, one of the reasons why the common man chooses the subsidised centres,” said Prashant Wani, a vegetable vendor.

(With inputs from Khusboo Ratda)

10,000 kg
Quantity of vegetables transported to the centres across the city every day

>> The vegetables available at the centres are fresh and we get a wide variety to choose from. Besides, any saving is important to a woman, even if it is a matter of just Rs 1 or Rs 2. - Kalpana Bitale, Malad resident

>> I purchase my vegetables from the Mantralaya outlet. I live in Dombivli but work in that area. So it makes sense for me to buy my vegetables there, rather than return home and then go to buy them late at night. - Anagha Dhonte, Dombivli

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