Expressing concern over spiralling onion prices, the Centre on Monday asked the states to take stringent action against hoarders to rein in prices, while a chunk of imported kitchen staple is expected to enter the domestic market by second week of September.
Terming the price rise as a temporary phenomena, food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan said,
“There is no shortage of onion in the country. Hoarders are trying to take advantage of the situation,”.
“There is an expected production shortfall of only five lakh tonne. Hoarders get active when production falls. The state governments should take action against hoarders to control prices,” Paswan said after reviewing the onion supply situation.
Meanwhile, consumer affairs secretary C Viswanath held a meeting with officials from departments of agriculture and commerce as well as from the Delhi government to review the onion supply situation.
In the meeting, it was decided that joint surveillance teams from departments of agriculture and consumer affairs would inspect the centres where onions are being distributed in Delhi to check the quality, quantity and prices.
Besides, a core team of officials from the two departments, MMTC, Small Farmers’ Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) and Nafed would be video conferencing with the states when the tenders for importing onion open on Thursday.
The government’s trading arm MMTC has floated a tender for import of 10,000 tonne of onion.
Viswanath has already written to Maharashtra chief secretary, urging the state administration to take measures for ensuring proper supplies of onions, as the state produces around 40% of the country’s total production.
According to National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation (NHRDF) data, the onion produciton is estimated to be at 18.92 million tonne in 2014-15 (April-March period).
The modalities of the import of tur dal and urad dal were also discussed on Monday. It was also decided that inter-departmental review meetings will be held twice a week to take stock of the supply situation of pulses.