A generous bunch of curry leaves given free by vegetable vendors as a goodwill gesture to regular customers now comes for a price.
A kg of the herb, commonly used for seasoning, was priced between Rs.25 and Rs.40 at the Koyambedu market on Friday.
The market gets its supply of curry leaves from areas such as Krishnagiri, Mettupalayam and Dharmapuri. After the extensive damage to plants during the northeast monsoon, the market receives only half of its usual supply of 10 lorry loads daily. Traders in Koyambedu market said the price hike was marginal until ‘Pongal' as curry leaves were transported from Dindigul region. Once the supply dwindled, the cost has gone up. K.Thenraj, a vegetable vendor in Kolathur, said: “I cannot afford to give curry leaves free even to my regular customers. I am forced to charge Re.1 or Rs.2 for a small bunch. I compensate them by giving coriander leaves free of cost.”
The monsoon has also hit the supply of vegetables grown in the State, including bitter gourd, brinjal and snake gourd, which are priced between Rs.30 and Rs.35 a kg. Traders said while the vegetables transported from other States cost as low as Rs.7 a kg in the market, those from Tamil Nadu are expensive.
Lady's finger, grown in Madurantakam, Tiruvannamalai and Kancheepuram, has also become dearer following the damage caused by heavy rainfall. One kg of the vegetable costs Rs.44 in the retail market.