Just as one furore was abating, another has taken its place. On Friday, Udta Punjab was released in theatres across India after a prolonged battle with the Central Board of Film Certification. On the same day, attention turned to the steep rise in staple food items that is unnerving the Central government.
Over the past few weeks, the prices of tomatoes, potatoes and pulses have climbed sharply in several parts of the country. Tomatoes are selling at Rs 100 a kg, while potatoes are going for Rs 20 a kg. The most expensive of them are pulses, with arhar dal selling at Rs 170 a kg and urad dal at Rs 196 a kg.
Reports attribute the tomato price hike to crop damage from the intense summer heat. “There are too many variations in prices of tomato as one moves between the place of production to the point of consumption,” a government official told NDTV. “The government plans to improve the supply side constraints.”
Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said the price rise in tomato was a seasonal factor with the commodity unable to be stored due to short shelf-life. “Everything can’t be always blamed on the Centre,” Paswan added, “state governments also need to do their bit.”
On Twitter, people couldn’t but help draw links between Udta Punjab and the skyrocketing prices of tomatoes with the hashtag #UdtaTamatar.