Free Press Journal

Govt mum on storage of excessive onion as monsoon approaches


Ujjain : Learning a hard lesson from last year, the government will not store procured onions in warehouses this year, but rather sell them straightaway through public distribution shops at a price of Rs 2 per kg. A maximum of 50 kg onions can be purchased per family holding BPL ration cards.

Last year too, the government purchased tonnes of onions at a support price of Rs 6 per kg. Due to lack of vision and management, the onions were stored in rented warehouses without proper safety, causing decay of most of the lot, leading to losses worth crores for the government. Although, government changed track this year and has restrained from storage, bewilderment on copious amounts of the crop is rather evident.

Procured onions from Ujjain are being transported to Chhindwara, Umariya, Balaghat, Rewa and Jabalpur, which are already overflowing with onion crops of their own. Are the respective administrations ready to store or sell additional crops, with monsoons just a week away? It is to be noted that negligence can result in losses in crores to the government.

How is the demand generated and on what parameters has the state government selected the above cities is not clear, as every district in MP has an excess of onion crops. What will happen to the additional crops from other districts is a question that still remains unaswered. Concerns have increased with secretaries of Jabalpur and Guna mandis having expressed their incapacity to take more onions, in a letter written to the state government.

However, the decision on selling onions to other states will be taken in Bhopal. Government will hold talks with traders in states like West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh and if consent is reached on a price, e-tenders will be invited.

Ujjain currently has a storage capacity of 340136 metric tonnes in 44 warehouses, most of which are filled with wheat crops. One warehouse with capacity of 3 lakh quintals is empty in Narvar. The Ujjain administration has ruled out its use due to its distance. While most of the onions will be sold outside, the decision on how much to be kept for Ujjain will be taken after June 25.

ADM says they are only following govt orders

On the question of further management of onions sent from Ujjain, additional district magistrate Narendra Suryavanshi while speaking with Free Press said, “We are only following the government’s orders. We are responsible for transportation and sending the lot to assigned cities, namely Balaghat, Chhindwara, Jabalpur, Gwalior, Guna and Ashoknagar. From there on, the crops become the responsibility of the respective civil supply department. What and how they plan to do with crop will be their concern.”