As onion price heads to whopping Rs 100, Centre puts onus on states, hoarders, eyes imports

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'The state governments must act firmly against hoarders who are hoarding onions.' (Reuters) 'The state governments must act firmly against hoarders who are hoarding onions.' (Reuters)
SummaryOnion price surges to all-time high of Rs 90; govt may be forced to import.

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On the sidelines of a CII conference in Mumbai, Thomas said: "Traders are taking undue advantage of shortage...but we don't have any plan to abruptly ban exports. The government this time has a stable policy. Instead of putting a blanket ban, we are putting curbs to control export."

"As per the Agriculture Ministry, production of onion is good, though some damage has happened due to untimely rain. There is stock with farmers and traders. We have requested states especially Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Gujarat to send supplies to Delhi and other consuming states on priority basis to check price rise," Thomas said.

Meanwhile, Sharma in New Delhi said: "Inflation is a matter of serious concern, but it is driven by vegetable and food. We hope it is temporary, seasonal and will settle down."

Private traders had imported 1,800 tonne of onions in September from Egypt, China, Iran and Afghanistan to augment domestic availability.

The imports appears to have had no impact as prices have again shot up to Rs 80-90 level in major cities.

The government had taken several measures to check price rises but to no avail. It had slapped in August a minimum export price of of USD 650 per tonne, which was later hiked to USD 900/tonne in September.

Onion exports have falling by 28 per cent to 7,16,246 tonnes in the first six months of the current fiscal compared to the same in the previous year. India produced 16.3 million tonnes of onion last year.

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