Helpless on veggie prices, says minister

MGNREGS responsible for price rise: Katti

“Due to increase in the in-put cost and decrease in production, vegetable prices have gone up. The Government cannot do much about it. Moreover, it is an open market...Farmers are free to sell anywhere and at any rate,” the Minister told reporters.

Katti further blamed the introduction of the National rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) for the price rise.

There was severe shortage of labour for agriculture operations ever since the introduction of MGNREGS. Agriculture workers opt to work under MGNREGS rather in farms because of better wages, bringing down the production while the demand had increased manyfold, he claimed.

Vegetable prices have gone through the roof in the last two months. Several vegetables are not to be found in many HOPCOMS outlets in the City, as these varieties of cost much more in the open market.

Asked why HOPCOMS is not playing an effective role in providing vegetables at reasonable prices to consumers, he said the farmers are not willing to sell their produce to HOPCOMS as they are getting better price elsewhere.

Besides, HOPCOMS has limited capacity. HOPCOMS procure 140 tonnes of vegetables per day against the daily total demand of 1,000 tonnes in Bangalore. His department is planning to open additional 100 HOPCOMS outlets in Bangalore, he added.

Katti, who also holds Prisons portfolio, said he has sought detailed information on the alleged supply of drugs and liquor to inmates of Bellary jail and he will take action against those found guilty.

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