Wiping off the onion tears

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 10/24/2020 10:32:53 AM

NEW DELHI, Oct 23: The Centre has swung into multiple actions to wipe off the tears from the heating up of the onion prices, including release from its buffer stock, liberal imports allowed with no inspections after fumigation, the government-owned Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) asked to import red onions to meet demand-supply gap, ban on exports since September 14 and stock limits of 25 tonnes on wholesalers and 2 tonnes on retailers clamped on Friday up to December 31.
The Department of Consumer Affairs is also closely monitoring the prices on a day-to-day basis through a dashboard. It sayss the prices have shot up more than 100% compared to he average of the last five years. The all-India average retail price recorded by it on October 21 was Rs 55.60 per kg which was 22.12% more than the last year's Rs 45.33 per kg on the same date and rather 114.96% more when compared to last five years' average.
An official of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said its pre-emptive steps to moderate the price rise before the expected arrival of the Kharif crop of the onions were frustrated by the recent heavy rainfall in the onion growing districts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. He, however, hoped that arrival of an estimated Kharif crop of 37 lakh tonnes will ease the situation.
To tide over the crisis from the sharp increase in prices due to the weather disturbances, the ministry has ordered swift release of onions from thee government's buffer stock of 1 lakh tonnes of the Rabi onions through major mandis as also from Safal, Kendriya Bhandars, NAVED and TANFED outlets in major cities. Assam and Kerala have been rushed supplies from this buffer stock, while dispatches have begun against the demand made by Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Lakshadweep.
The Indian Embassies and Missions are helping the traders for greater imports of onions. The official said such consignments are allowed to arrive at the Indian ports through land or sea route with fumigation as they would be fumigated by the importers in India on arrival and they would be released will be released with no additional inspection fee on the undertaking from the importers that the onions will be used only for consumption and not for propagation. These will thus escape the four times additional inspection fee on account of non-compliance of the import conditions.
The ministry has also assured to take action under the Prevention of Blackmarketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act, 1980 would be taken to prevent any hoarding, black marketing of Onions by unscrupulous elements. It has alerted all inspection bodies about the possible spurt in the prices next week after the Navratras end on Sunday. The prices remain subdued during nine days of the festival since the most people do not consume the onions while fasting.



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