MP wears tomato Garland to protest against tomato price
Tomato drama: Rajya Sabha’s proceedings on Wednesday took an unexpected turn as Chairman Jagdeep Dhankhar made a decisive move, adjourning the House until 2pm. The reason behind this abrupt decision was his strong objection to Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sushil Kumar Gupta, who had entered the chamber bedecked with a striking garland of tomatoes. The Chairman’s reaction came in light of the ongoing criticism directed towards the Central government regarding the surge in prices of essential commodities, most notably tomatoes.
As the day’s session began and the scheduled agenda was set in motion, Chairman Dhankhar’s attention swiftly shifted towards the AAP representative, Gupta. The Chairman’s stern expression revealed his displeasure as he voiced his discontentment with the unconventional choice of adornment. The garland of tomatoes, worn ostentatiously by Gupta, not only caught the eye but also drew the attention of the nation to the contentious issue of escalating food prices.
The incident showcased the escalating tensions between the ruling party and the opposition, amplified by the symbolism of Gupta’s unusual attire. The garland of tomatoes stood as a visible reminder of the public’s concerns, emphasizing the skyrocketing costs of everyday necessities. With the Centre under persistent scrutiny, this act of protest within the hallowed halls of the Rajya Sabha served as a poignant reflection of the dissatisfaction surrounding the current economic climate.
In an atmosphere charged with political undertones, Chairman Dhankhar’s decision to adjourn the House temporarily due to this striking gesture underlined the widening divide between the government and its critics.
The rise of Red Gold
According to a report, the continuous rainfall in certain regions of the country and insufficient showers are anticipated to cause a further surge in tomato prices. These conditions have had an adverse impact on the production and transportation of this essential kitchen commodity, and it is projected that the prices might escalate to as high as “₹300 per kg” in the upcoming weeks.
The ongoing scarcity of tomatoes during the months of July-August and October-November, which usually witness lower production, has compounded the present situation. In response to the widespread increase in tomato prices, the Central government has directed its agencies, specifically the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Limited (NCCF), to swiftly procure the essential vegetable from marketplaces in key cultivation states such as Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra.
Faced with the staggering surge in tomato prices gripping the nation, a farmer from Chhatrapati Sambhajinagar in Maharashtra has taken an innovative and cautious step to safeguard his harvest. Installing CCTV cameras in his field, Sharad Rawate aims to thwart theft and potential mishaps amidst the soaring rates of the crimson fruit.
Tomatoes, a culinary essential in Indian households, have seen their prices reach a staggering Rs. 160 per kilogram in Maharashtra. This recent escalation follows a brief period during which the government subsidized the vegetable’s rates to alleviate consumer concerns.
Rawate, recognizing the urgency of the situation, invested Rs. 22,000 to set up surveillance cameras across his farm. He explained that given the ongoing market dynamics, this move was imperative to safeguard his crop from pilferage.
Dubbed the “Tomato Coup,” instances of tomato theft have grown rampant as the prices continue to surge. In one incident, a truck transporting tomatoes worth approximately Rs. 21 lakh mysteriously disappeared en route from Karnataka’s Kolar to Rajasthan’s Jaipur. In another occurrence, thieves in Jharkhand made off with around 40 kg of tomatoes from a local vegetable market.
This widespread inflation has hit vegetable vendors across Delhi and the NCR region hard. Many have been forced to raise prices, leaving a significant portion of consumers grappling with unaffordable costs. With rates that had once dropped to Rs. 120 per kilo, they have once again spiraled past the Rs. 200 mark. On August 1, the average price stood at Rs. 132.5 per kilogram, underscoring the tumultuous roller-coaster ride the tomato market has been on in recent times.