Maharashtra: Onion is on fire, touches Rs 100/kg

New Delhi/Nashik: Onion prices, which have been rising for weeks now, have crossed the psychological mark of Rs 100 a kg in Delhi. The rate stood at Rs 55/kg on October 1, according to official data.

Wholesale prices of onion in Nashik, on Monday, too jumped to a record high. In Lasalgaon, the benchmark market, prices averaged at 5,551 rupees per 100 kg on Monday, much higher than 4,902 rupees on Saturday, local traders said

Despite various measures having been put in place by the Centre, onion prices have been on fire and imports are now being contemplated to cool down the retail level spike.

Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday admitted that there was a 30-40 per cent reduction in production; he blamed it on the lack of uniformity in rain pattern, which was disrupted the supply, leading to the price surge.

The arrival in Delhi mandi is 25 per cent less than that in the corresponding months of previous years. Indian missions in Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran are being requested to facilitate supply of onions to India.

Paswan said that the Union government is taking all possible steps to curb price rise, including creating a buffer stock of 56,700 tonnes of onions, out of which 1,525 tonnes are available with NAFED, at present.

The government is also considering putting a stock holding limit of 10 tonnes for retailers and 50 tonnes for wholesalers to ensure a constant and healthy supply in the market.

Paswan said that the Union Government will also act as a facilitator for import of onion. Phytosanitary and fumigation requirements have been suitably liberalised.

The Congress latched onto the issue to attack the BJP government at the Centre. Party spokesperson Supriya Shrinate said that there is sufficient quantity of onions in the country, but prices are on the boil because the government is protecting the blackmarketeers who have hoarded the staple vegetable.

"Now the government is going to import onion. We have strong objections to it. The farmers are not benefiting from the price rise. We would request the government not to resort to a quick fix", she added.

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