Govt vans vroom out to sell veggies

 Costly tomatoes and onions are giving a headache to the Delhi government which on Monday launched mobile vegetable selling vans in yet another attempt to give relief to people suffering from high prices of vegetables over the last two months.

Tomatoes continue to sell between Rs 50-70 a kg in many colonies and officials of the Food and Supplies Department blame it on the poor supply due to rains in hill states where the vegetable is grown.

The decrease in supply of tomatoes has been spread over the last two-three months, but the prices shot up in mid-July. Gulshan Kumar, a resident of Sangam Vihar, complained about the poor government response to the crisis. “Tomato prices are not showing any sign of coming down. We given up using tomatoes in kitchen,” said Kumar.
  
According to Sanjay Chugh, general secretary, Tomato Traders’ Association (TTA), the problem is acute due to poor supply. “On an average, 60 trucks would come everyday earlier. But now the arrival is less than half of that level,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on Monday flagged off a convoy of mobile vans for supplying onions and potatoes at reasonable rates directly to the consumers in Delhi.

The initiative was launched with the tie up of the Delhi Agriculture Marketing Board (DAMB) and the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC), an autonomous body under the Union Ministry of Agriculture.

An official said the consortium is sourcing onions and potatoes directly from the farmers through its network of farmer producer organisations, while the Delhi Agriculture Marketing Board has made available the mobile vans.

The produce will be sold in pre-packed and loose form to consumers through these vans in different localities of Delhi. A Food and Supplies Department official said the vans will help in keeping the prices of onions and potatoes under check.

He said drives have also been launched against profiteers who were overcharging.

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