Traders and businessmen across Tamil Nadu have said that any relief in the coming days from the soaring vegetable prices in the state is unlikely even if the rains take a back seat.
Koyambedu Vegetable market president Chandran told IANS: "Prices are soaring in Tamil Nadu and there seems to be no respite till Pongal... even with or without rains, it seems that prices will continue to increase."
Tomato prices have touched Rs 80-100 in the wholesale market while in retail market the rate is around Rs 120 per kg. Drumsticks are not available in southern states as it has to come from North India where the prices are on the higher side as well.
Brinjal is being sold at Rs 100 and above in retail market while it is available at Rs 70 in the wholesale market. Drumsticks have touched Rs 270 kg and the vegetable is not available.
In north Indian states where drumsticks are available, the market price is Rs 200 and above, and freight charges have led to the price of drumsticks soaring above Rs 250 per kg.
Sheeba Ramachandran, a college teacher living at Teynampet in Chennai, told IANS: "The prices of vegetables have shot up in Chennai and at Koyambedu wholesale market, the price of cabbage which was selling at Rs 10 to Rs 20 per kg has now touched Rs 40 per kg. This is only in a span of one or two weeks."
Vegetable traders are of the opinion that the prices will come down after Pongal which falls on January 14.
Several households that were buying vegetables in kilos are now buying it in grams.
Manonmani G, a professor of Sociology at a private college in Chennai, told IANS: "We are now used to buying vegetables at a lesser quantity. Earlier, I used to buy 2-3 kg of vegetables for a few days but now in the same span of time, I am buying vegetables in grams.
"Rates are very high and the whole family budget is in jeopardy now. Hope the rates reduce soon as we are vegetarians and we cannot skip vegetables."
Other than households, hotels and restaurants of Chennai have also resorted to reducing vegetables in curries with tomato chutney being replaced with tamarind chutney.
Many hotels have also cut short the number of vegetables that are used in curries.