Vegetable prices sky high in Ladakh

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Leh, Apr 24 (ANI): Vegetable prices have soared in Ladakh, which has remained cut off for five months due to heavy snowfall.

People feel that hoarding by unscrupulous traders has also responsible for the increase in vegetable prices, as the crunch gets prolonged and acute.

"The administration must fix a proper price for the vegetables as soon as possible because the cost of the vegetables is very high out here, which is not fair. They must look into the matter and take fair price for the vegetables from consumers," said Akhoon Mohammad Sohil, a customer.

Though the region started receiving its first supply of fresh vegetables of the season with the melting of snow on the Zojila and Rohtang mountain passes, wholesalers say they have to pay high transportation costs to porters who bring supplies on ponies as vehicular traffic is still to resume across the passes over-14,000 feet high.

The retail price of vegetables is anywhere between rupees 60 to 70 per kilogram.

"We have to spend around rupees 30-35 per kilogram on porter charges only and rupees 18,000 is spent on vehicle charges. Apart from that we have to pay the packing charges also, which is very high," said Mohammad Amin, a vegetable vendor.

The local administration, which stocks everything from foodgrains, meat and vegetables to fuel for the five months of isolation, enforces a strict retail price control regime.

Officials denied any reports of price rise and said random preventive checks were in place to check hoarding.

"Last time, our CAPD team toured a lot of places and fined many offenders. But so far, we have not received any such complaint and whenever there is any kind of complaint, our team acts promptly," said Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Deputy Commissioner, Leh.

Ladakh region remains cut off by road from rest of the country during winters due to accumulation of huge snow, even up to 60 feet, on southern face of Zojila and Rohtang passes.

The region heavily depends upon imports for most of food items.

As air services are the only mode of transportation links available with the rest of the country between November and March, the supplies are not enough to meet the demand and people face scarcity of food supplies, especially perishables. By Jigmet Vangchuk (ANI)

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