Eye-watering onion prices weighing heavy on Kolkata's evergreen 'peyaji'
Kolkata: Peyaji (batter fried onions), an age-old delicacy of the city which adds colour to winter evenings along with a cup of tea, has fallen victim to the alarming rise in the price of onions in recent times.
Lakshminarayan Shau and Sons, the most popular shop selling telebhaja (fried street food) in Hatibagan, has increased the price of peyaji after a long time to Rs 8 per piece from Rs 7.
The shop is 102 years old and it is said that Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose used to have telebhaja from the shop whenever he came to attend meetings in North Kolkata. The shop has been distributing free telebhaja on January 23 every year for the past six decades, to mark the birthday of Netaji.
Mohan Gupta, the owner of the shop, said the price of peyaji had to be increased because of the sharp rise in the price of onions. He said earlier more than 37.5 kg onion was needed to prepare peyajis every day and people queued up from the morning to buy it.
The sale used to go up in the evening. Now, only 20 kg onion is used to make peyajis and it is being prepared only after assessing the demand. Gupta assured that the price of the delicacy will come down once the price of onions goes down.
The business of shops selling peyaji on Mirzapur Street has been badly hit because of the price hike of onions. Subodh Chandra Ghosh, a shop owner, said the students of Calcutta University, Presidency University and City College are the bulk buyers. Many office workers also take peyaji and tea from the cluster of shops on their way back home.
"Because of the price hike we are making fewer peyajis which got sold within half an hour in the afternoon. As a result, we have failed to meet the demand of our regular customers who are visiting our shops for decades," he said.
Rabindranath Koley, general secretary, Forum of Traders Organisation and member of the government Task Force, said that the state produces onion that can meet the demand for six months.
For the remaining period, it has to be imported from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. He felt that the price is likely to go down when the first batch of onion produced in Bengal will hit the market in January.
The owners of roadside roll shops are losing business as well, as many people are not eating rolls as onions are not being used by the shops owing to their price.
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