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Kerala to market vegetable 'kits' at Rs.18

National,Business, Tue, 11 Nov 2008 IANS

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 11 (IANS) With vegetable prices spiralling in Kerala, the agricultural department Tuesday decided to supply vegetable 'kits' priced at Rs.18 across the state.


Addressing reporters after a meeting with department officials, agricultural minister Mullakara Ratnakaran said the coming two weeks were critical as vegetables in neighbouring Tamil Nadu have perished following rains.



'Hence we will supply 200,000 vegetable kits at Rs.18 and will open exclusive vegetable markets in Kochi and here, and supply to stalls that sell vegetables. For a single family, this kit will be good for two days,' said Ratnakaran.



Kerala, which is heavily dependent on Tamil Nadu and Karnataka for its daily supply of vegetables, has in the past one year seen prices increase with every hike in the price of fuel products.



Prices of vegetables here have touched record levels in recent times; for instance, tomatoes cost Rs.30 a kilogram, beans Rs.40, and cauliflower Rs.35.



Murugan, who hails from Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu, close to the Kerala border, and ekes out a living ironing clothes here, is among the thousands struggling with the spiralling prices.



'I have been here for the past five years but it is very difficult to live these days,' he said.



'In Tamil Nadu, we get rice at Re.1 a kg, tomatoes for 50 paise a kg and cucumber virtually free. Now I am virtually in debt despite working day in and day out. I have sent my family back a few months ago and I think it is time for me to leave also.'


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