M A I N   N E W S

Now onions at a price that’ll make you cry
The must-have vegetable for most households is
being sold for Rs 70 per kg
Ruchika M. Khanna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, December 20
The sharp hike in prices of onions is literally making the common man cry. For the past 20 days, the price of the vegetable has been rising steadily, and it is now retailing across most cities in North India at anything between Rs 60 and Rs 70 per kg!

Till a week ago, onion -- the quintessential ingredient in most curries -- was retailing at Rs 28-Rs 30 a kg. Just two days back the prices took a jump and onions are now being sold at Rs 60-Rs 70 a kg. Even the wholesale price of onions jumped from Rs 10-Rs 15 per kg last week to the current Rs 35-Rs 45 per kg.

In Delhi, onion was retailing at Rs 60-Rs 65 per kg on Monday, whereas in Chandigarh it was retailing at Rs 65-Rs 70 per kg today. In Ludhiana, onions were available at Rs 60 per kg.

Vegetable traders in Delhi and Chandigarh, which are the terminal points for the crop before it is dispatched to other places across North India, say the supply of onions has come down by almost 50 per cent due to the untimely rains in October and November in the onion-producing states of Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Rajendra Sharma, general secretary of the Potato and Onion Merchants Association, Azadpur, Delhi, told TNS that only 80 tempos (each carrying 9 tonnes) and 20 truckloads of onions (each truck carrying 15 tonnes) arrived at the Azadpur market today from Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Gujarat. “This is almost 50 per cent short of the usual inflow of the crop, thus creating a supply constraint and hike in prices,” he said.

According to the information available with The Tribune, about 2,000-2,200 sacks (each sack containing 55 kg) of onions arrive in Chandigarh daily. This is not just meant for the local market, but also for the neighbouring state of Himachal Pradesh. Tej Pal, an onion trader here, said: “Most of the crop is coming from Alwar in Rajasthan, and because of the supply constraint, the prices have soared in the Azadpur mandi in Delhi, from where the wholesellers in the city get their supply.”

Other than onion, the prices of garlic too have shot up phenomenally. From Rs 60-Rs 70 a kg last week, garlic was retailing at Rs 200-Rs 230 a kg in various cities of North India today.

Govt stops its export

The sharp hike in prices of onions forced the government on Monday to ban its export till January 15. A decision to this effect was taken at a meeting by the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED) in Delhi. India exports huge quantities of onions to the Gulf countries, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan. NAFED officials said the supply position of onions was expected to improve in January, when fresh arrivals picked up. This was likely to ease the price of the crop, following which the export ban could be lifted.





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