Wholesale onion markets in Nashik region remained closed on Monday as traders protested against the order of Rajasthan High Court related to ‘Santhara’, the Jain community’s centuries old ritual of voluntary fasting to death.
The markets will remain closed to register their protest against the decision, said Sohan Bhandari, president, Nashik District Onion Traders Association.
The Rajasthan High Court had earlier this month held the ritual of ‘Santhara’ as illegal, making it punishable under sections 306 and 309 IPC (abatement of suicide).
On Saturday, onions sold for Rs 5,700 per quintal at Lasalgaon, a jump of over Rs 2,500 or Rs 25 per kg in just two weeks. Two months ago, the wholesale price of onion was nearly one-fourth of the current price.
To improve onion supply in markets by discouraging its exports, the Centre on Saturday increased MEP to $700/tonne. According to the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF), 1,17,377 tonne of onion was exported from India in 2015-16.
According to Nanasaheb Patil, chairman, Lasalgaon APMC, it’s a long-term step, and such a move is unlikely to increase the domestic availability of onions till the new crop is harvested. Currently no exports are happening as domestic prices are higher, he said.
Most farmers in Nashik and Ahmednagar districts have not planted onions this season as there is no rainfall. The crop can be harvested in December, only if the planting is done within this fortnight. Currently, seedlings have already been prepared for transplanting in the fields.