To control the prices of onions, the central government has decided to import 1 lakh tonnes of onions. Retail prices in many States still remain at Rs 70-80 per kg due to unseasonal rains affecting the major onion-producing States like Maharashtra.
Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the government had decided to import 1 lakh tonnes of onions to control onion prices. MMTC will make the imported bulbous vegetable available for distribution in the country from 15 November to 15 December while Nafed has been entrusted with the task of distributing the onions to every part of the country.
Earlier, the Cabinet secretary held a high-level meeting with the secretary of consumer affairs to review the onion crisis in many parts of the country. According to the Department of Consumer Affairs, the officials of the Ministry of Agriculture and Consumer Department, as well as officials of other government agencies associated with the Ministry of Food, have been directed to go to Turkey and Egypt and speed up the effort to import the vegetable from there. Simultaneously, MMTC has been asked to import large quantities from Dubai and elsewhere so that the shortage of onions in the market can be removed quickly.
India imports 2,500 tonnes of onions
Onion prices in bulk were at Rs 15 to 50 per kg in the Kolhapur mandi in Maharashtra, the major onion producing State, while it was priced at Rs 20 to 45 per kg at Jodhpur mandi in Rajasthan.
Delhi onion wholesaler Rajendra Sharma said that the daily arrival of new onions from Rajasthan had increased in Delhi, and the quantum of daily despatches is expected to increase further, which will bring down the prices.
According to sources, around 2,500 tonnes of imported onions have reached India and 80 more containers are on the way, out of which 70 are coming from Egypt and 10 from the Netherlands.
Rajasthan mandis to remain open to fight scarcity
The governments of Delhi and Rajasthan have been asked to ensure that all the mandis (wholesale markets of vegetables) remain open from 9 to 12 November so that the supply of onions is not interrupted. Unseasonal rains and floods in many States have damaged the onion crop, which is expected to reduce its production. To make up for the loss, the government has decided to provide facilities for buying onions from four countries: Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan and Egypt.