Hyderabad: Tension prevailed at the Mahbub Mansion Market in Malakpet as chilli and onion farmers protested the failure of the government to ensure minimum support price for them. Some farmers set chilli stocks on fire to vent their anger after traders offered them Rs 2 per kg.
The market has been flooded with chillies and onions over the past week. From 50 lorry loads of chillies and onion each daily, it has gone up to over 100 now. There are only a few buyers which had resulted in prices crashing.
Traders are exploiting the situation by forming cartels and offering floor-level prices to farmers. This has been leading to quarrels between the farmers and traders.
On Wednesday, the situation escalated and farmers and traders almost came to the blows. In the melee, some farmers poured chillies on the floor, and set a few bags on fire in the market yard.
Marketing department officials alerted the police, who rushed to the spot, dispersed the farmers and brought the situation under control.
“We spent Rs 10,000 to transport the chillies from Nizamabad to Hyderabad. Traders are offering Rs 2 per kg for chilli and onions. We can’t even recover our transportation costs at these prices,” said Mr Ayindla Kanakaiah, a chilli farmer.
He pointed out that onions were retailing at Rs 20 and chilli from Rs 70 to Rs 100 in the city.
“The government has failed to act against traders who are openly looting the farmers,” he said.
The marketing department directed officials to keep tabs on traders and cancel their licences if they were found to be forming cartels and exploiting farmers.