The Centre also asked the Delhi government to deploy an adequate number of officials in Maharashtra to check and clear the quality of onions before their transportation to Delhi.
Tomato-Onion Prices: Senior officials of the ministry of consumer affairs Friday reviewed the price and availability situation of staple vegetables like onions and tomatoes and directed Mother Dairy to sell onions below Rs 55 per kilo or less through its 400 Safal outlets to provide relief to consumers. The meeting chaired by secretary consumer affairs also reviewed the price and availability of pulses and announced steps to boost their supply, said the government.
“Mother Dairy has agreed to sell Tomatoes at not more than Rs. 55 per kilogram. Mother Dairy-Safal were also advised to consider repacking the Tomato Puree packets of 800 grams that are available with them into smaller packets of 100/200 grams for wider consumption and retailing at all their outlets,” said the government.
The price of onions and tomatoes has shot up to Rs 60-80 per kilogram in the retail market in several cities following the supply disruptions in major producing states – Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh.
In a major relief to consumers, the Centre was informed that there was hardly any damage to tomato crops in Andhra Pradesh which is a major producer.
The meeting was attended by representatives from the ministry of agriculture and farmers’ welfare, Horticulture Commissioner, managing director of NAFED, Mother Dairy, Kendriya Bhandar, NCCF and senior officials from the department of consumer affairs.
The Union government also asked the Horticulture Commissioner to write to his Andhra Pradesh counterpart for immediately dispatching fresh supplies of tomatoes to major demand centers including Delhi-NCR.
In addition to selling tomatoes at Rs 55 per kilo or less, the government also directed Mother Dairy to sell Tomato Puree in smaller packets of 100-200 grams for wider consumption. Mother Dairy sells Tomato Puree packets of 800 grams which will be re-packaged in smaller sizes.
“Sufficient supply of Tomato Puree is available for retailing,” said the government.
“The price of tomatoes has normalised in most States barring a few States. The arrivals from Madhya Pradesh have begun which will have an immediate easing impact on prices,” said the government.
Secretary consumer affairs took stock of the price and availability situation of onions in the country. The Modi government had struggled to control the price of onions last month.
Onion prices had shot up to Rs 80 per kilogram in the retail market in Delhi-NCR following the disruption of supplies in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh due to floods.
“The arrival of fresh stock has begun from Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan and it is expected that prices will show a downward trend in the coming weeks especially after Diwali,” said the government in a statement.
The government said that Nafed has sufficient stock of onions and which could be picked and retailed by state governments as per their requirement.
In its bid to control the onion prices, the Union government has last month increased the minimum export price (MEP) for export of all varieties of onions from the country. However, when it failed to have the desired effect the government put a complete ban on the export of onions.
The Centre also requested the Delhi government to depute adequate personnel in Maharashtra to check and clear onions being supplied to Delhi-NCR region from Maharashtra. The Centre has received reports that some trucks bringing onions from Maharashtra were rejected by the representatives of the Delhi government.
It was happening despite the supply of onions coming from Maharashtra to Delhi were checked and cleared by the Delhi government officials who have been deployed in Maharashtra.
Price of Pulses
In case of pulses, the government was informed that there was sufficient stock of pulses at present. The Centre directed the Nafed to continue to assess and offload the supplies in the market through Kendriya Bhandar, Safal and NCCF in smaller packs of half and one kilograms.