“What will I eat, if they will increase the prices of my favourite and affordable snack?” asks, Vijay Khanna, a 19-year-old FYBA student, who DNA met when he was relishing a vada pav in Prabhadevi.
Biting into the famed bread and potato fry patties combo is the Mumbaikar’s favourite pastime — you can have it for lunch, as a tea-time snack or even as an appetiser before dinner.But the skyrocketing prices may soon make the staple street food, a luxury item.
“Onions are really making us weep these days. Other vegetables are also getting more expensive. The price rise is really going to burn a hole in our pockets,” says Ashok Thakur, owner of the famous Kirti College vada pav.
He adds, “If this trend continues, we’ll be forced to increase the prices. We haven’t done that so far because of our customers.”
NR Kudva, co-owner of Shree Krishna, famous for its batata vada, agrees with Thakur and says, “We have to think of our business too. If we increase the prices, it might affect our footfall. But other than doing so, what other choice do we have?”
As stall owners are contemplating increasing prices, the customers are slowly coping with the fact that their favourite street food might not be that affordable anymore. “Vada pav is the common man’s favoured snack in the state and increasing prices will definitely affect the supply in the long term. The vendors might soon increase the prices if the raw material prices are not controlled,” says Shipra Tiwari, 23-year-old relations associate, who admits that she will continue to enjoy vada pavs only till the prices are easy on the pocket.
Anandita Bakshi, a 24-year-old management trainee, says, “I would look at other alternative snacks if prices keep on increasing.” She adds, “Kanda bhajia is definitely in trouble because of the prices being at an all-time-high, the common man’s preferred appetiser has turned around to become a luxury only a few can afford.”
Other vada pav vendors DNA spoke to criticised the government for its inability to control the price rise. “The government is saying that they will control the prices, but how long will it take. How are we going to manage till then? They should think of the lower-income group like us who have to earn daily to feed many mouths,” says a street stall owner from Andheri.
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar’s inability to do anything relevant too has irked many. “Government is at fault. It has taken no measures to prevent cartelisation and artificial hoarding. They should always take precautions because unseasonal rains can destroy crops. Preventive actions like for limiting or holding back the exports and proper distribution from warehouses and markets have to be taken to avoid such situations in the future. The farmers still suffer due to the low income earned from crop sales while the traders and retailers book huge profits because of the artificial price rise,” says Anish Patki, a 26-year-old management student.
However, there are a few who still see a silver lining. “The new stock will enter the market by January next year so prices are bound to come down,” says Dheeraj Gupta, owner of the Jumboking vada pav. But he adds quickly, “The overall inflation has left us with only two options. Either we compromise on quality and quantity or increase the prices. Increase in prices commodities — oil, grains, vegetables — is inevitable now. One should hope that it happens in small percentages rather than sudden hikes like in the case of onions.”
Monday, 27 December 2010
Get ready to pay more for the humble vada pav - Speak Up - DNA