By India Today Business Desk: At a time when tomato prices have surged over 300 per cent in many parts of the country, the government has started selling the kitchen staple at discounted rates in retail markets in New Delhi and other major cities with high demand.
Tomato prices are currently retailing anywhere between Rs 100-200 per kilogram in different parts of the country, but the government has started selling tomatoes at discounted rates in major cities, starting today.
Tomatoes at Rs 90/kg in Delhi-NCR
The National Cooperative Consumers Federation (NCCF) is selling tomatoes at Rs 90 per kilogram. At least 20 mobile vans have been tasked with selling tomatoes at discounted rates. This is in addition to NCCF retail outlets where tomatoes are being sold at discounted rates across Delhi-NCR.
In Delhi, the tomatoes are being sold at retail outlets in Okhla and Nehru Place.
Discounted tomatoes will also be sold by the NCCD and National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) in other major cities where prices have surged due to high demand.
This comes after the consumer affairs ministry on Wednesday said the sale of tomatoes will be undertaken by NAFED and NCCF to tackle rising prices.
Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh told news agency PTI that tomatoes will be sold at discounted rates in Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. It will be available in cities, including Patna, Varanasi, Kanpur and Kolkata.
Sales in other cities with high demand are likely to start during the weekend.
“Tomatoes will be sold at a considerably lesser rate than the prevailing price in that area. It will be at least 30 per cent lower than the prevailing market rate on that given day. The idea is to give relief to consumers,” he said.
Both NAFED and NCCF are procuring tomatoes from key producing centres of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra, and they will only be sold in major consumption centres, where retail prices have recorded a maximum increase since last month.
Singh said, “It will be for the first time, we are going to procure and sell tomatoes in retail markets. We have done that for onion. It is going to be a challenging task as tomato is a highly perishable commodity.”
Discounted rates to continue till prices stabilise
The consumer affairs secretary said the sale of tomatoes at discounted rates will continue till prices cool down, which is likely at the beginning of August.
As per data from the consumer affairs ministry, the average all-India retail price of tomato was Rs 111.71 per kilogram on Wednesday, while the maximum price was Rs 203 per kg in the Bathinda region of Punjab.
Among the major cities, the retail price of tomato is highest in Delhi at Rs 150 per kg, followed by Mumbai at Rs 137 per kg, Kolkata at Rs 137 per kg and Chennai at Rs 123 per kg on Wednesday.