KOLKATA: Vegetable prices have shot up by 20% 40% in eastern states of West Bengal, Jharkhand and Odisha in last one week as heavy rains accompanied by release of water by Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) have inundated large tracts of land resulting in crop loss.
Prices of common vegetables like brinjal, pointed gourd, cauliflower, ridged gourd have become expensive is last one week as traders say that vegetables have been destroyed due to heavy rains as well as by release of water by DVC resulting in decreased supply. Prices of tomato has touched Rs 100 per kg in all these states.
In Odisha supply has been disrupted as large tracts of agricultural land in the districts of Keonjhar, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Kendrapara, Balasore, Kalahandi have been inundated with flood water. Kabi raj Swain, a vegetable dealer in Bhubaneswar said “Prices have shot up in last one week. We are hoping that once water recedes prices will drop. It will take another 7 -10 days when vegetable prices will drop.“
In Bengal, nearly 3 lakh hectares of land are under water where paddy cultivation was underway . Purnendu Basu, West Bengal agriculture minister said “Howrah, Hooghly and West and East Midnapore districts have been worst affected. “The paddy seed beds in these districts are all under water now. We have decided to provide paddy seeds to the affected farmers for making fresh nurseries. We have 11,340 tonnes of certified seeds ready with us.“
Bengal government has also decided to deploy officials from the enforcement branch of police to keep a tab on the rising prices. “It is the middlemen who play havoc with prices. We have asked the police department to make surprise visits to the market to check whether consumers are being forced to pay higher prices,“ Basu added.
While rising prices continue to be a matter of concern, the blame game between Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and DVC continues with the latter saying that the government has allowed agriculture on catchment areas which are supposed to get flooded due to release of water.
Water released by dams at Tenughat and Tilaiya in Jharkhand flows into DVC's dams at Panchet and Mython respectively. This then flows into the Durgapur barrage and flows into Bay of Bengal through a canal. On 29 and 30th July , DVC has released 1.59 lakh cusecs (cubic foot per second) of water.
The volume of water to be released by all the four dams are determined by the Damodar Valley River Regulation Committee (DVRR) a committee with representation from government of West Bengal and Jharkhand, DVC and Central Waterways Corporation.