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Lockdown hits vegetable supplies in Kerala

V Sajeev Kumar Kochi | Updated on March 25, 2020 Published on March 25, 2020

The countrywide lockdown may have just revealed to the extent to which Kerala is dependent on neighbours for its essential supplies. Sealing of borders and unprecedented vigil at checkposts on Wednesday, the day after the lockdown, may have hit normal supplies, according to reports reaching here.

While shortages have been reported from some of the northern districts, prices of vegetables have gone up in Kollam and Thiruvananthapuram in the South. Onions prices shot up by ₹35 to ₹95 a kg on Wednesday in the Chalai market, the main trading centre in Thiruvananthapuram. Prices have doubled to ₹40 for tomatoes, while green chilly prices were up by ₹17 to ₹45. Carrots and beans are dearer by ₹10.

The popular vegetable packs, comprising an assortment of items normally available for ₹100 to ₹150, now sell at twice or even thrice the price. Vendors say arrivals from neighbouring Tamil Nadu are slowing to a trickle, with check post officials detaining trucks. This is despite both the Prime Minister and the Kerala Chief Minister assuring that movement of essential supplies will be exempted from ban orders of any kind, a shopkeeper in Chalai said.

“We have been told by our friends in the media that the Chief Minister has been apprised of the situation, and that he has promised to talk to counterparts both in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to resolve the issue,” said a representative of the vendors at Chalai. If truck movement is not restored at the earliest, the State could be heading for serious shortage of these items, he said.

Meanwhile, the State government has said that consumers in the BPL category will get 15 kg of rice, apart from other essential grocery items, to be supplied to their doorstep by the local administration. The stock is being provided outside of their normal ration entitlement, as part of market intervention plans on a war-footing.

The door delivery is being attempted with a view to pre-empt crowding at government outlets such as the Maveli stores or those under the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation. The government is confident that the State has enough supplies of these items to ride out the lockdown period, and even beyond.

Published on March 25, 2020
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