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Hyderabad

Time for people to go 'Bananas'

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HYDERABAD: A steep hike in prices of pulses and vegetables owing to the devastating floods in Andhra Pradesh and parts of South India is threatening to change the regular lunch menu of the common man in the city. Making matters hard to digest, if the agricultural marketing website is to be believed the only vegetable that is well within the common man’s reach seems to be raw bananas or plantains, which is apparently being sold around Rs 4 per piece in city’s agrarian markets.

“Almost every vegetable we used to buy is reaching Rs 100 per kilo, if this is how the price continues to shoot up. What do we eat?” questioned D Chaitanya, a resident of Gaddiannaram.

Many denizens said they had cut down on their regular intake of cauliflowers, tomatoes and potatoes due to the price hike. “We don’t know when the prices would come down, until then it seems we have to opt for less amount of vegetables,” said Kalyan Sukumar, a resident of Banjara Hills.

According to farmers, the rise in prices of pulses and vegetables stems from the state government’s inability to establish storehouses in agrarian lands and procure stocks at the minimum support price (MSP).

“If the stock is procured from the farmers at the MSP rates, this would weed out all the middlemen, who hoard the stocks till the prices rise. Irrespective of what the farmers grow, all of them have faced a severe crop loss this year. And, the middlemen or traders have chanced upon this opportunity to stock the harvest till the prices are hiked and the common man has to bear the brunt of it,” said D Vijaypal Reddy, general secretary, Telangana Farmers’ Association.

He further implored that the farmers in the state do not have the capability to stock their crops in godowns, because that is a pricy affair.

“If the state government builds godowns for the farmers, wherein the godowns are owned and managed by them. It can easily curb the inflation rates. But that is not the case,” he added.

Similarly, agricultural experts say that the farmers must be provided with proper facilities for them to transport their harvests.

“The limited quantities of stocks being sent to the farmers’ market shows that there is rampant hoarding in play. Firstly, the government needs to ensure that there is a check on the price and the quantity of edibles being procured by the markets to weed out middlemen,” said G V Ramanjenyulu, executive director, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture.

However, the people of the city are less concerned about the middlemen. Their worries are limited to the steep hike in the prices of edibles in the city.

“The prices in the city are skyrocketing, before we go to a market we need to check our bank balance to ensure that we can sustain ourselves for the rest of the month,” said P Jyothirmayi, a resident of Nacharam, while adding that the price rise in the market has forced them to change the menu for their daily meals.

“When common edibles are costing us Rs 100 per kilo, we would obviously look at cheaper options like pumpkins or radishes,” she added.

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Source: TOI-Hyd

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A multi-crore 'illegal' business

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HYDERABAD: The illegalities notwithstanding, commercial establishments operating out of the expansive Defence land in Secunderabad, are pocketing big bucks every month, allege sources.

According to their estimates, the annual earnings of these private ‘businesses’ collectively is close to Rs 300 crore, if not more.

Of these, the most profitable are the function halls that lease out their space for marriages and other social dos.

In fact, TOI’s investigations revealed that one particular hall located in this area charge an exorbitant Rs 22 lakh for 12 hours!

This fee, however, only covers decoration and lighting charges apart from seating area that can hold roughly 1,200 people. For everything else – such as food – the client is expected to cough up an additional amount. This could be anywhere upwards of Rs 10 lakh.

When asked, the manager of the hall on condition of anonymity said that on an average a ‘party’ leasing out this space for a function could well end up spending between Rs 60 and Rs 80 lakh for the event!

“Unfortunately, none of these establishments, despite the big bucks that they earn as profits, do not pay a single rupee in way of taxes to the concerned authorities. It is about time that officials took stringent action against these erring establishments and put an end to this unlawfulness,” said a Defence official.

Apart from such financial irregularities, these commercial establishments -the function halls in particular – have also become a menace for regular commuters who are forced to put up with long-winding traffic snarls while making their way through these stretches. “Most of these establishments have no parking space. As a result vehicles visiting these places spill onto the roads outside, adding to the hardships of lakhs of commuters,” said the official, adding, “Though traffic police have warned them of dire consequences many times, they have conveniently ignored their warnings.”

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Source: TOI-Hyd

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Route rationalization yet to bear fruits for RTC

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HYDERABAD: The change in travel pattern in the city from largely east to west over the years has made a number of RTC buses in the old route unprofitable, officials said.

The RTC which is currently working on realigning routes is all set to introduce seven new routes, by re-allocating buses.

While the route rationalization plan was conceptualized a year back, so far only 444 buses in the city have been covered and around 2,500 buses are still running on old routes.

In Hyderabad none of the depots have been able to reverse the loss making trend. Currently city record 60 to 65 per cent average occupancy, although on some routes these are as low as 30 per cent and on others as high as 100 per cent.

“The direction of traffic has changed completely with the development of Cyberabad area and the axis now is east-west. People are continuously moving from one place to another, being constantly on the streets leading to several choke points in the city, making it important to have route rationalization of bus services,” said Anant Maringanti, Hyderabad Urban Labs.

The demands stretches from Secunderabad to Abids, Koti and Charminar for the matter have come down drastically.

Since the development of the city has not been uniform, it’s being driven by the changing economy of the city and therefore changing of the axis over the last decade. While the TSRTC has turned 22 depots into profit making, 90 others continue to roll in losses.

Depots like Mahbubnagar, Vikarabad in Rangareddy district have been able to reverse the trend and have seen a jump in occupancy by 1.5 times. Also route rationalization has led to cut down in travel time by 15 to 20 minutes as per officials.

As of now all depots in the city continue to be loss making, as we have just realigned 400 buses services so far, this month. There are some routes which have hardly 10 connecting buses are other which have as many as 277 buses plying.

Hyderabad, meanwhile, has 850 routes with 3,550 buses covering them. “There are routes where three to four depots are operating and hence there is a possibility of a wider gap in frequency. This has also kept the process slow as there are a large number of buses on many routes. We need to ensure that each route gets ensured traffic and has the right frequency to regulate the flow of buses,” added the TSRTC official.

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Source: TOI-Hyd

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