New Delhi: Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday warned hoarders and black marketers of strict action as onion prices soared across the country due to supply disruptions due to floods in Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and some southern states.
“I want to inform hoarders that we have a buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes. Affected states can boost their supply through agencies like Nafed and National Cooperative Consumers Federation Ltd,” Paswan said at a press conference, indicating that the government is taking measures to keep the prices under control.
Onion prices have skyrocketed in the last one month due to short supply from flood-hit onion-growing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Last week’s rainfall has further aggravated the problem, due to which onion prices have surged up to Rs70-80 (Dh3.6-4.1) per kg in the national capital and other parts of the country.
The state governments have been asked to boost supply in their states lifting the central buffer stock, Paswan said.
“The situation in Maharashtra is very bad. There is no transportation. We have 50,000 tonnes as buffer stock. 15,000 tonnes are out. 35,000 tonnes we still have. All states government can buy from us at reasonable price to meet the demands,” he said.
Meanwhile, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed) has boosted supplies of onion to government agencies which have started selling it in the open market at low prices.
People queued up outside the Agriculture Ministry here on Tuesday, to buy onions at Rs24 per kg.
“In our area, onion is selling at Rs60-70. Here I can buy it for Rs24 per kg. It’s a big relief,” said a woman standing in the queue.
According to sources in agricultural produce market committee of Azadpur (APMC) mandi, onions sold at Rs22.50-42.50 per kg in the wholesale market.
Total arrivals of onion at Azadpur mandi on Tuesday were recorded at 1,506.50 tonnes, a slight increase of 136 tonne from the previous day. This is likely to cool down the prices in coming days.