Hailstorm further hikes vegetable prices in Jharkhand
Ranchi, Feb 13 (IANS) Even as onion and chicken prices spiralled in Jharkhand, a hailstorm in parts of Ranchi damaged vegetables and pushed up prices further.
Some farmers Tuesday jammed roads in Pithoria block of Ranchi demanding state compensation for their damaged crops and vegetables.
Deputy Commissioner of Ranchi K.K. Son has sought a detailed report on the damage of crops and vegetables due to the hailstorm and rainfall. "We will compensate farmers for any damage due to the hailstorm," he said Tuesday.
Short supplies are blamed for making chicken and onions dearer. Onions are sold in the open market at Rs.20-25 a kg, with vegetable dealers predicting that the price will escalate in the coming months. The same goes for fowl.
"The wholesale price of onions is Rs.17-18 a kg. We are selling onions in the open market at Rs.20-25 a kg," said Kisan Kumar, an onion seller in Ranchi's Doranda market.
"If the supply of onions remains same, the price may touch Rs.40 per kg on March l," said Amit Kumar, an onion wholesaler.
Onion wholesalers say that prices will go down only when local onions come into the market after two months. Onions are imported from Nasik and chicken from West Bengal and Orissa.
The price of chicken has gone up by Rs.15 per kg. Boiler chicken was sold at Rs.50 a kg, but has now gone up to Rs.65.
"We were buying chicken at the wholesale market for Rs.40-45 a kg, which has gone up to Rs.55-60 now," said Mohammad Salam, a chicken seller.
Monday's hailstorm in Pithoria and Ormanjhi blocks of Ranchi caused massive damage to vegetables and other properties worth Rs.40 million. At least four villages were fully covered with snow, affecting vegetable crops in the fields.
The vegetables ready for sale in the markets were cauliflowers, cabbages, tomatoes, brinjal, wheat, paddy and potatoes.
"I have lost everything due to the hailstorm. Around six inches of snow covered the field. I had grown cauliflower, onion and wheat, but suffered a heavy loss. I had taken a Rs.20,000 loan to grow vegetables and wheat," said Dukha Oraon, a farmer from Pithoria.
Another farmer, Sukhram Mahto, from Ormanjhi said: "The state government should duly compensate us or we will be forced to commit suicide. I have lost Rs.100,000 to the hailstorm."
Demanding compensation for the farmers, Ramtahal Chaudhary, a Lok Sabha MP, said: "The state government should move fast to give compensation to farmers. Any delay may spell disaster for the farmers."
In the last two days, the state capital has witnessed rainfall of 95 mm, with the downpour still on. According to meteorologists, Ranchi will witness rain for two more days.