Sikkim vegetable crisis

Sikkim vegetable crisis
Gangtok: The Sikkim government continued to put up a brave front on the face of the growing discontent over the vegetable crisis in the state with traders on Friday issuing a virtual ultimatum to it to either provide the organic produce in all its varieties and adequate quantity to meet the demand by Sunday or face protest.

As promised on Thursday, the government delivered organic vegetables to traders in markets across the state on Friday, but many complained that they were vastly inadequate to meet the demand and some items like tomatoes, green chillies and capsicum, among others, were not available at all.

Lakpa Sherpa, the vice-president of the All Sikkim Traders' Association, said the situation does not look good at all, and the onus was on the government to remedy it.

"We will wait till Sunday for things to improve, if the present crisis continues, we will meet on Monday and take a call on our next course of action," he said.

He, however, did not spell out what the nature of action would be, but some traders privately said they will have no other choice but to protest and demand a rollback.

Sherpa said the vegetables supplied by the government were grossly inadequate. "Say for example, the daily demand for cauliflowers in Gangtok alone is 18,000 kilograms, but today we were only given 1,000 kilograms. Who is going to make up for the shortfall?" he asked. Cauliflowers apart, the government provided beans, leafy vegetables, among others.
Khorlo Bhutia, the horticulture secretary, said the government was doing all it can to normalise the situation, but given the larger scope of the organic mission, it would require the support of all sections of society to make it a success.
"We are using all the machinery at our disposal to meet the situation. We have assigned officers to ensure supply and keep a check on unfair pricing. I would appeal to all the people to keep the larger picture in mind and extend their support in making this exercise a success. There are many benefits, both financially and health-wise, to be had once we as a state can become chemical-free and fully organic," he said.
All the farm produce grown in Sikkim is fully organic, but it had to rely on supply from outside the state to meet the local demand. From April 1, the government banned the import of many vegetables from outside which are non-organic.
Some staple food items like potatoes and onions, however, do not come within the purview of the ban. Foodgrains like rice, wheat and pulses, too, are not covered by the ban.

The telegraph

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