Govt irons out plan to check onion prices

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times City - TIMES NEWS NET­WORK

New Delhi: With prices of onions ex­pected to go fur­ther north in the next cou­ple of days, Delhi gov­ern­ment may start sell­ing the kitchen sta­ple at con­trolled prices through fair price shops and mo­bile vans in the cap­i­tal.

Delhi food and sup­plies min­is­ter Im­ran Hus­sain on Friday di­rected the of­fi­cials to make “ad­e­quate ar­range­ments” to check the spi­ralling prices of onions and en­sure their sup­ply to FPS for re­tail sales in case any “emer­gency sit­u­a­tion arises”.

The whole­sale prices of the ed­i­ble bulb at the Lasal­gon APMC in Ma­ha­rash­tra touched a four-year high of Rs 4,500 per quin­tal on Thurs­day due to scarce sup­ply af­ter ex­ces­sive rains in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try. Of­fi­cials say the higher whole­sale prices will start im­pact­ing the re­tail prices in Delhi in a day or two. The re­tail price of onions in NCR has al­ready touched Rs 70 per kilo, said of­fi­cials.

Hus­sain held a meet­ing with the of­fi­cials of the de­part­ment of food and sup­plies, Delhi State Civil Sup­plies Cor­po­ra­tion, Agri­cul­tural Pro­duce Mar­ket­ing Com­mit­tee (APMC) and Delhi Agri­cul­tural Mar­ket­ing Board on Friday to re­view the sit­u­a­tion. A sep­a­rate meet­ing was also held with DSCSC of­fi­cials and trans­porters to en­sure that the sup­ply of onions is not af­fected.

Of­fi­cials said that the gov­ern­ment has al­ready con­sti­tuted a high-level Price Sta­bi­liza­tion Fund Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee un­der the chair­man­ship of the chief sec­re­tary to sug­gest mar­ket in­ter­ven­tion for check­ing the prices of es­sen­tial com­modi­ties. “This com­mit­tee has also been ac­ti­vated to timely and ef­fec­tively deal with the sit­u­a­tion of high re­tail prices of onion,” said an of­fi­cial.

“The of­fi­cials of F&S de­part­ment and APMC have al­ready been di­rected by the min­is­ter to make reg­u­lar field in­spec­tions and carry out en­force­ment ac­tiv­i­ties in or­der to check the in­stances of hoard­ing, black-mar­ket­ing and prof­i­teer­ing,” he added.

As­tate­ment is­sued by Delhi gov­ern­ment said that the of­fi­cers present in the meet­ing ex­pected that due to on­go­ing phase of “shraadh’ (a pe­riod of 15 days in the Hindu cal­en­dar when peo­ple ab­stain from rich food in re­mem­brance of de­parted souls) fol­lowed by the fes­tive pe­riod of Navra­tri, the de­mand of onions would de­crease, which would help in neu­tral­is­ing some ef­fect of the price rise.

“The Cen­tre has also writ­ten to the Delhi gov­ern­ment that as a mea­sure of mar­ket in­ter­ven­tion for check­ing their re­tail prices, NAFED can also sup­ply 200 met­ric tonnes of onions ev­ery day through eight trucks for their re­tail sale in Delhi,” the state­ment said.

Food and sup­plies min­is­ter Im­ran Hus­sain di­rected of­fi­cials to make ‘ad­e­quate ar­range­ments’ to rein in onion prices

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