Jamshedpur : High prices of fruits and vegetables in the city are playing spoil sports during the Chhath puja. Consumption of selected fruits and vegetables are an integral part of the celebrations however, the prices have forced people to loosen their purse strings.
Incidentally, prices of various commodities and foodstuff have hit the roof. For example, fruits, including banana, coconut, orange and apple, have been selling at exorbitant rates.
The increase in prices is attributed to reduction in yield and quality of the produce and inappropriate weather conditions According to the vegetable traders, the production of vegetables has been badly affected due to floods in neighbouring states like Bihar due to which the supply of vegetables on Chhath has been hit.
Chhath being an arduous observance, requiring the worshippers to fast without water for more than 24 hours and observers break their fast with vegetables and fruits due to which the demand during the festive season increases.
The rising prices of commodities, which are expected to go north as Chhath comes near, transportation costs and demand will make the residents loosen their purse strings. Prices of the most commonly used items during Chhath, especially soop and daura (bamboo basket), are almost 50 per cent higher than last year. Unfortunately for devotees, the prices will rise even more.
Last year, a pair of soop cost the residents Rs 50-60. This year, the same pair of soop is priced between Rs 80 and Rs 100. Similarly, a piece of daura was priced between Rs 100 and Rs 120 last year. However, the cost has gone north by almost Rs 80. This year, devotees are coughing up anything between Rs 180 and Rs 200 for a daura.
It may be mentioned that Chhath is a festival dedicated to the Sun God, considered to be a means to thank the sun for bestowing the bounties of life in earth and fulfilling particular wishes. Worship of the sun has been practiced in different parts of India, and the world from time immemorial. Worship of sun has been described in the Rig Veda, the oldest Hindu scriptures, and hymns praying to the sun in the Vedas are found.
Prices of sugar cane, coconut, apple, date and orange have also witnessed an increase of 10 to 15 per cent. Prasad further added that due to increase in demand of vegetables and fruits during the festive season the prices also rise. “We are already facing the burden of inflation and increase of essential commodities has added to our woes,” said Rekha Sahu, a housewife.
She said she was now spending almost double the amount she used to earlier on vegetables. “The festive season has inconvenienced us with the steep increase in vegetable prices,” she added.
Mahendra Singh, a personnel manager in a multinational company, said, “I can afford to spend on vegetables. But what about those living below the poverty line. The Government should have a body to monitor the vegetable prices and make sure they do not increase beyond a point.”