In a major cause of concern for consumers, the prices of pulses- Arhar dal, Urad Dal, tomatoes and potatoes have surged together.
The Arhar dal now costs Rs. 170/Kg, while the Urad Dal is selling at a price of Rs. 196/Kg. On the other hand tomatoes are costing Rs. 100 a Kg and potato prices are up to Rs. 20/Kg.
According to a report by the Times of India, dal production has been hit due to the drought, which has doubled its prices. While excessive heat has destroyed the tomato crop, blight in the fields of West Bengal has lead to shortage of potatoes.
The situation is so bad that vegetable price inflation rose to 12.94%, pushing the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) to 0.79% in May.
Though the government has tried to built in stocks of dal to keep the prices in check, the measures have been ineffective mostly. The government has so far been able to purchase only 1.15 tonnes of pulses so far out of its target of 1.5 lakh tonnes.
While the demand of pulses in India is pegged at 23.5 tonnes, the country’s pulses
production is estimated to be 17.06 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year.
Similarly, the unusually high temperatures in March has destroyed the tomato crop
planted during that season.
Although the government says that prices are not so high, data published by the
department of consumer affairs and the National Horticulture Board show that prices in most cities have increased by 100-200%, the report states.
The case of potatoes is different. A portion of the year’s harvest goes into cold storage and comes out when the potato production in the country dips. However, the blight in West Bengal has destroyed potato crop, leading to surge in its prices.