With onion prices rising up to Rs 80 per kg in the national capital, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday blamed the Delhi government for not taking adequate action against hoarders for spiralling the prices.
The minister also said the passage of Goods and Services (GST) Bill could have helped in controlling onion prices. After reviewing the supply and the price situation here on Monday, Paswan urged all state governments to take stringent action against hoarders to rein in prices, while assuring that steps taken to import the key kitchen staple and curb exports will help control the rates.
Terming price rise in onion as a temporary phenomena, Paswan said there is no shortage as such in the country but hoarders are trying to take advantage of the situation. “There is a production shortfall of only five lakh tonnes in the country. Hoarders get active when there is production fall. The state governments should take action against hoarders to control prices,” Paswan told reporters.
Wholesale onion price at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia’s biggest onion market, has increased to almost Rs 60 per kg, while retail onion prices have risen up to Rs 80 per kg in many parts of the country. Asked as to why the BJP-ruled Maharashtra, the leading onion growing state, not been able to control the prices, Paswan said the passage of GST would facilitate for easy movement of onions across the country, thereby improve supply and control prices.
Highlighting the measures taken to boost domestic onion supply, the minister said MMTC has floated a tender for import of 10,000 tonnes of onion and the tender will be opened on August 27. “The minimum export price of onion has also been increased to $700 per tonne from $425 per tonne to restrict exports and the state government has been asked to impose stock holding limits on traders,” he added.
Total onion production is estimated to be at 189 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June), slightly lower than 194 lakh tonnes, a year ago.