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Divya Prata, Pune

A truck transporting tomatoes worth Rs 21 lakh from Kolar in Karnataka to Jaipur in Rajasthan has gone missing despite rising costs. According to the authorities, neither the driver nor the truck can be reached. The cops were later notified that the truck carrying tomatoes had been discovered near Nashik in neighboring Maharashtra. A complaint has been filed with the Kolar Nagar police station.

Officials believe the driver and cleaner of the truck, which left the Kolar vegetable market on Thursday, stole the tomatoes and have initiated an investigation based on a complaint filed by Vinay Reddy, the owner of SVT Merchants, on Sunday. Reddy recounted that they had placed 11 tons of tomatoes from the Kolar tomato mandi, neatly packaged in 750 cartons, into a truck.

The truck, which was being tracked via GPS, had traveled around 1,800 kilometers since leaving Kolar. When the truck did not arrive in Jaipur, the trader attempted to contact the driver, but his phone was turned off, according to a senior police officer.

“We had sown tomatoes on two acres, but we got nothing. Tomatoes used to grow, but they never ripened. This time they grew, but the day before yesterday, someone stole them,” the farmer said, as quoted by the news agency PTI. “We toiled so much on the farm, but we got nothing. My husband can’t speak. We only work here from 7 in the morning until 9 at night. We poured all our labor and money into it, but everything was looted.”

Tomatoes have become a popular target for thieves as their prices have skyrocketed. Tomato prices have soared to more than 150 per kg in some regions of the country in recent weeks. This has resulted in a tomato shortage on the market, making them even more valuable. Tomatoes worth 2.7 lakhs went missing earlier this month in Karnataka’s Hassan district.