The Uttar Pradesh Congress has started the ‘state bank of tomato’, with facilities like easy loans for buying tomatoes, attractive interest rates on its deposit and locker facility, as a novel way to protest the soaring price of the vegetable. The ‘bank’, which is being operated from the Youth Congress office at Mall Avenue in the state capital, has today, on the second day of the protest, got some 18 buyers and is evoking keen interest among the people. Former party spokesperson Anshu Awasthi, who is leading the campaign as the ‘bank’s chief manager’, said they have some interesting schemes like doubling the tomatoes deposited with it, 80 per cent loans for buying the vegetable especially for the poor. “Seeing the response, we have started another ‘branch’ in Aliganj here… We got some 11 kg of tomatoes deposited with us and have given away one-and-a-half kg on loan in which the buyer will be paying back in instalments of Rs 10 each,” Awasthi said.
“The idea is not just to lodge. Some shopkeepers are depositing tomatoes with us, he said adding the ‘bank’ will operate from 10 am to 5 pm. “The idea is not just to lodge protest but also to create awareness among the people about the soaring price of the vegetable,” he said. Party spokesperson Dwijendra Tripathi said this is a form of protest against the soaring prices of tomatoes and to draw attention on the hardship faced by the common people because of it.