Vegetable vendors loot public amid lockdown, officials start inspection
Vadakara: When the nation has gone to a complete lockdown amid COVID-19 outbreak, public complain over price gouging of essential commodities including vegetables. After receiving numerous complaints, taluk supply office wing officials have initiated an inspection at Kallachi, Thottilpalam and Kuttiyadi on Tuesday.
In most of the places, vendors charged high prices for vegetables. Tomato which was at Rs 12 per kilo two days back, was sold at Rs 40, Rs 30 and Rs 25 in different places.
In the wholesale market, a box of tomato is priced at Rs 450 on Tuesday. As per this rate, tomato will cost Rs 20 per kilo. Though selling it at Rs 25 can be justified as for small profit to the vendor, charging Rs 40 per kilo is found to be an exploitation of the public.
At the same time, onion which is also one of the most demanded item, witnessed price swings in the market. When some people bought onions at Rs 30 per kilo, some vendors sold it for Rs 46.
On Tuesday morning, the price of onion in the wholesale market was Rs 30 per kilo. But later it hiked to Rs 35 and touched Rs 45 per kilo in the retail market.
Public complained that the vendors are not following any criteria in the sales and only eying to loot the people.
In most of the shops, vegetables are sold without displaying the price list. At present, there are no restrictions to transport vegetables to Kerala. But people complained that the markets are experiencing a shortage of vegetables. It is observed that a planned move was made to decrease the supply with an aim to raise the demand and increase the price.
Immediate intervention should be made to check this practice and government must take action to fix the price of vegetables, demanded many.
Government to take strict action against overpricing
Taluk supply officer reported that strict action will be taken against the vendors who sell vegetables and other essential commodities without displaying price list. Action will be taken against violators under essential commodities act of 1955 and PBMMSEC Act (Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act) 1980.
Officials will conduct daily inspections at all shops including vegetable shops.