Maharashtra: I-T raids on 9 onion traders in Lasalgaon
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Mumbai: The onion auction at the Agriculture Produce Market Committee in Lasalgaon, a leading onion-producing and trading hub, was a non-starter on Thursday after income tax raids on nine traders. About 10,000 quintal of onion could not be auctioned because the auction was suspended, resulting in a loss of about Rs 4 crore for the day.

Farmers, who are struggling to maintain onions in storage following heavy rain, hope that the auction will restart on Friday. They fear that unless this happens, it will be difficult for them to quickly dispose of their stock before it is damaged.

Leading onion grower Jayadatta Holkar told The Free Press Journal, "Farmers are happy as they are getting higher prices. It surged to Rs 4,300 per quintal on Wednesday and was Rs 4,000 per quintal today but the auction did not happen. After income tax raids on nine traders, the auction was suspended. However, traders expect the onion prices to increase to Rs 5,000 per quintal within a week.’’ He hoped that the traders would resume auctioning on Friday.

Holkar said onion growers have been strongly pushing the Centre to allow them to export their produce, just like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. “The Central government, which banned onion exports last month, has permitted farmers from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh to do so. But unfortunately, the Centre has not considered Maharashtra, a leading grower and exporter of onions. Despite repeated pleas, there has not been any response so far from the Centre,’’ he noted.

Another onion grower, who did not want to be named, informed that a group of farmers have filed a petition in the Bombay High Court for early resumption of exports.

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