KUNAL CHATTERJEE, Kolkata: As coronavirus is beginning to lose its bite in China, the impact is being felt in the fruit market in Kolkata. At the height of the scare prices of Chinese apples and pears — a huge amount is imported from this country — had gone through the roof.
Now that China has been able to get the virus under control, Kolkata’s Mechua fruit market that supplies fruits to most parts of the city, prices have somewhat calmed.
Jyoti Sanyal, a home-maker whose household consumes a lot of fruit every day, can now breathe a sigh of relief. “My dad is hospitalised at the Medical College and Hospital and the doctors have asked us to get as much fruit as possible. But the prices were so high that we were not being to afford fruits. Apples were being sold at Rs 200 per kilo while pears were costing as much,” she said.
Tanvir Ahmed, secretary of the Fruit Merchants Association at Mechua’s fruit market, said, “The ships carrying the fruits were detained at several deep sea ports and were not being allowed to enter the city ports as the infrastructure was not ready for medical scanning of many people. At one point, several ships were waiting at different ports to unload their cargo. Now things are better and the vessels are being allowed to enter Kolkata and Haldia ports. I am sure the prices of fruits like pears and apples will come down from Rs 200 a kilo to Rs 80.”
Ullas Lashkar, a labourer who unloads fruits from the trucks to the godowns, at Mechua, said, “We were almost out of work for several weeks as fruits from China stopped coming. The association assured us that we will be paid at least half our salaries though we had no work to do. Now that the fruits have arrived, we are happy.”