Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Oct 8:
It seems the Odisha government’s appeal to the people not to resort to panic buying and its threat to hoarders of essential commodities have fallen on deaf ears. Potato, in particular, has simply vanished from the market.
A large number of people in the Odisha capital were seen returning home disappointed after failing to find the must eat item of every Odia home in the market.
Parthasarathi Ray Badajena, a local who had come to buy potato at the Unit-I haat here, said he searched every stall but was not able to find the tuber in any of them.
“A wholesaler in the haat sold a 25 kg packet of potato for Rs 1350 right before my eyes. But when I asked him for some potato, he refused point blank saying he would not sell it loose,” he said.
“I saw potato heaped in a shop. But all of it was sold off at Rs 40 a kg in next to no time before my turn came,” said another disappointed consumer.
Things were no different in other markets in the city like Old Town, Baramnuda, Nayapalli, Shahid Nagar and Damana.
Traders are certainly not complaining. “It is a bit like last year when people bought salt as if there was no tomorrow after a rumour,” said a shopkeeper in the Unit I haat with a chuckle.
Sudhakar Panda, secretary, Odisha Byabasayi Mahasangha, a traders’ association, attributed the vanishing of potato to excessive buying by some panicky people. “Many of them bought 25-kg packets causing an artificial scarcity in the process,” he said.
In the complete absence of potato, disappointed consumers had no choice but to buy other vegetables even though their prices too had gone up as a result of the panic buying ahead of Cyclone Hudhud.
Tomatoes are selling at Rs 25 per kg, onion at Rs 25-Rs 30, brinjal at Rs 30, cucumber at Rs 30 and potala at Rs 30, a straight 40-50 per cent hike compared to yesterday.
Like vegetables, people were also seen buying grocery like rice, dal, sugar, flattened rice, candles, batteries and match boxes in large quantities.