Maharashtra CM urges Centre to increase onion stock limit to 1500 metric tonnes

Mumbai: Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, in a bid to express the Shiv Sena led government’s support to the farming community hit hard due to excess rains and Centre’s decisions, has dashed off a letter to Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal urging him to increase the stock holding limit to 1,500 metric tonnes for traders who purchase onion in the APMCs from the farmers directly.

“The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020 had removed commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities. This amendment was aimed at free storage regulation of onions with regard to limits. However, recently imposed stock limits of 25 metric tonnes for wholesalers and 2 metric tonnes for retailers have caused severe hardship to onion farmers as well as traders in the state of Maharashtra,’’ the chief minister said.

Thackeray further said that the imposed stock limits created unrest in the traders who directly purchase onions from farmers in APMC.

“There is increasing demand from traders to increase this limit to 1500 metric tonnes for traders who purchase onion directly from farmers in the APMC. As per notification dated October 23, onion import is exempted from stock limits. Hence, traders who purchase in the APMC from farmers are requesting that they should also be treated at par and should be allowed to keep onion stocks up to 1500 metric tonnes,’’ he added.

As reported by Free Press Journal, the onion auction in Nashik, which was suspended for four days after traders stayed away to protest against the Centre’s notification imposing stock limits, has resumed on Friday after intervention by Thackeray and NCP Chief Sharad Pawar.

Thackeray’s letter is crucial as Maharashtra accounts for 60% onion production and 80% of the total exports at the country level.

The area and production of Rabi/summer onion in the state had increased in the last season and the production was approximately 100 lakh metric tonnes.

Further, Thackeray said the three days’ time is given for grading/packing from the date of purchase of onion in APMC as per advisory issued by Department of Consumer Affairs on October 29, 2020. He noted that there has been an increase in the prices of onion in the retail market which ranges between Rs 80 and 100 per kg.

“Also kharif onion arrivals are likely to start from the first week of November. Kharif onion is highly perishable. If this onion is not purchased by traders because of present stock limits, there will be huge loss to the farmers who have already suffered huge losses during Covid 19 lockdown,’’ said Thackeray.

He reiterated that the Centre needs to increase the stock limit up to 1500 metric tonnes for traders who purchase onion in the APMC from the farmers directly.

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