Mrunal Manmay Dash

From pointed gourd to beans, from okra to tomato, there is no vegetable in the market priced below Rs 80 per Kg.

Even the ubiquitos cauliflower is being sold at Rs 40 per piece. With the onset of holy Kartik month and unseasonal rains, vegetable markets across Odisha have been set on fire. So much so that the consumers have now started to ask for vegetable prices in grams instead of Kilos.

If the onset of Kartik month when people of Odisha generally avoid consuming non-vegetarian food and the demand for vegetable grows manifold was the primary cause of price rise, the unseasonal rain in the month of November proved to be a double whammy for the middle class population. The situation has become so bad that even with Rs 500 in pocket, one cannot buy a bag full of vegetables.

A consumer at the Unit-2 haat in Bhubaneswar said, "It is really getting difficult for me to fill all the stomaches at home. With the meagre pension I get, I can't really afford these vegetables." 
This is a double edged sword. Not only consumers but the vegetable vendors are suffering as well. With a steep rise in prices the consumers are purchasing less, making a direct effect on the sales volume too.

With the unseasonal rains that lashed many parts of Odisha recently, Hectares of vegetable crop in Ganjam's Dharakot block was washed away. As per reports, acres of farmland with brinjal and cauliflower cultivation was destroyed in the recent rain.

A farmer in Hirakhandi village in Dharakote block said, "I have availed loan for this crop. But looking at this damage, I am unsure if I would be able to repay it."

Similarly, Polasara block in Ganjam has a similar tale to tell where hectares of vegetable farming was damaged in rain. A local farmer alleged, "I have grown bitter gourd in one acre of land. But sadly all the plants were damaged by this rain. I am clueless about future."

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