Bhopal: Onion continues to bring tears into the eyes of the government. It has already spent Rs 600 crore on procurement of onions at MSP. According to the horticulture department, the annual production of onions in the state is 32 lakh quintals. The government has already bought 7.5 lakh MTs of onions and, thus, according to official figures, it has not purchased 25 lakh MTs from the farmers. And amid all this, there are allegations of onions being recycled and the same stocks being sold to the government again and again.
The purchase of onions is continuing in 10 districts of the state. There are reports that onions from outside the state are being brought for sale at the procurement centres in these districts. Due to the figures provided by the Horticulture department, the government is hesitant to stop the process.
The Horticulture department, it seems, is inflating the figures of onion production. And due to this, the government exchequer is being bled white.
The government is purchasing onions at the rate of Rs 8 kg and selling the produce at the rate of Rs 2 per kg. Traders from Mumbai and Delhi are flocking to the state to buy onions from the state and sell them at huge profits in markets outside the state. The government has authorised the collectors to sell the stocks.
An onion producer says that the harvest of onions is completed by the first week of May. Almost all the farmers who had sown onions have sold their produce to the government and now the traders, in collusion with the officers, are making merry at the cost of the government.
Sources said that in view of all this, the government may put a stop to the procurement over the next two or three days.
Govt seeks funds from Centre
The state government is trying to obtain funds from the Centre to at least partly recover the amount it has spent on onion procurement. The state government can get assistance at the rate of Re 0.95 per kg from the Centre under the price stabilisation scheme. A proposal to this effect has been sent to the Centre.