Geyzing, 09 Aug:
The soaring vegetables prices in the district town Geyzing have become a troublesome factor for the people who belong to economically weaker section of the society. A sudden hike in the prices of almost all kinds of vegetables in the town has come as a shocker to the common people. Recently, the district town Geyzing suffered a crunch in vegetables supply due to lockdown, lack of means of transportations and a weeklong incessant rain that damaged the vegetables in various parts of West Sikkim. Supply from Siliguri was also disrupted for some days and vegetables supply in the town had ran out of stock causing panic amongst the consumers. However, vegetables supply from Siliguri has been resumed a few days ago.
Sudden spike in vegetables prices in the town by 20 to 30 rupees per kg in all kinds of vegetables has added to consumers' woes especially the daily wage earners who are workless these days as construction and other menial jobs have been suspended as precautionary measures for containment of COVID-19 pandemic.
The prices of vegetables have not been regulated by the concerned department yet. The consumers want the concerned department to look into the matter so that a balanced 'price system' can be introduced in the town.
"Skyrocketing prices of vegetables adversely affect the family budget of common people who lack permanent source of income. Vegetables prices in the town is becoming unaffordable day by day", a person said.
"Little surge in vegetables prices is comprehensible considering ongoing pandemic situations but limitless hike in the vegetables' prices is unbeconing. As a daily wage earner we have been worst hit economically due to COVID-19 pandemic and increased prices of vegetables is another problem we are dealing with", another person added.
A kilogram of organic bitter gourd comes at 120 rupees while a consumer has to pay rupees 80 for 1 kilogram of tomato. There is certain hike in prices of all kinds of vegetables in the town. During the statewide lockdown the organic vegetables supply from the vegetables hubs of west district such as Okhrey, Daramdin, Sakyong and other places was disrupted due to lack of transport means. As there was no facilities to market their harvest, some farmers from Daramdin were compelled to leave their cabbage field to rot. The Farmers Producers Organization (FPOs) has come forward to farmers' rescue and vegetables supply has been given resumption in west district.
As informed by a vegetable grower from Okhrey, they fetch only 9 to 10 rupees per kilogram of organically grown cabbage. However, the cost of cabbage rises by 20 to 30 rupees per kilogram when it enters the market of Geyzing.
Vegetable traders say prices have risen may be due to crop failure during the rainy season, high transportation cost and difficulties in procurement of vegetables from remote and rural areas.
Some farmers from Sakyong and Kabirthang near Geyzing shared that incessant rain damaged their crops and they will not be able to supply vegetables in the town. If vegetables supply from Siliguri ceases, local supply fails to meet the growing demands of the vegetables in the town.
People opine that the concerned department comes out with an effective plan for procuring and delivering vegetables in the urban dwellings of west district. FPOs have greater role to play for providing marketing facilities for the farmers.
The prices of meat in the town have also gone up and within five months the rate of meat has been increased by 40 to 50 rupees for a kilogram of meat.