New Delhi: The Commerce Ministry on Sunday prohibited export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect to improve the domestic availability of the commodity and provide a relief to consumers.
Retailers can stock onion only up to 100 quintals and wholesale traders are allowed to keep up to 500 quintals, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said, adding that the state governments have been directed take stringent steps to prevent hoarding.
The reported export below minimum export price (MEP) to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will be stopped immediately and strict action will be taken against violators.
The move comes amid sharp increase in retail prices of onion since August despite the government's several measures to boost the supply and contain prise rise.
Currently, retail onion prices are ruling at around Rs 60-80 per kg in the national capital and some other parts of the country due to supply disruption from flood-affected growing states like Maharasthra and Karnataka.
The Centre has promised to bridge the supply gap, keeping in mind the sensitivities regarding onion crop, even more so in the run up to the Assembly election in Haryana and Maharashtra.
Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi, Tripura and Odisha are reported to have demanded onions from the Centre.
Meanwhile, to give relief to consumers from high prices, the central government is offloading 50,000 tonnes of buffer stock of onion across the country. State-run Mother Dairy and cooperatives Nafed and NCCF are selling buffer stock onion at a cheaper rate of Rs 23.90 per kg in Delhi.