Congress blames BJP-run state for city onion woes

Parties quibble, Delhi govt points at 'hoarding' in MP

As BJP attempts to use rocketing onion prices to its advantage in the ensuing Assembly polls, the Delhi government on Wednesday alleged that hoarding of the kitchen staple in Madhya Pradesh, ruled by the saffron party, has resulted in escalation of rates in the city.

Delhi Food and Supplies Minister Harun Yusuf, slamming BJP for politicising the issue, accused the Madhya Pradesh government of not taking action against hoarders in the state “with a purpose”.

The minister even went on to say that going by the price of onion under BJP rule in Delhi 15 years ago, it should have “risen to Rs 700 per kg” now.

Delhi gets supply of onion from a number of states including Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Prices of onion have again gone up to Rs 80 per kg in the retail market in the city after stabilising to Rs 55 earlier this month.

“We get supply of onion from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and a number of states. The supply of onion to Delhi has been affected also due to large scale hoarding in Madhya Pradesh. I think they are doing it with a purpose,” Yusuf said.

He said the Delhi government has again started selling the vegetable at Rs 60 per kg at 1,000 points across the city through mobile vans.

“The BJP is politicising the issue, which is very unfortunate. During BJP rule in 1998, onions were selling at Rs 80 per kg. If you calculate inflation and other parameters, the rate should have touched Rs 700 if you compare it with the rate 15 years ago,” Yusuf said.

The BJP was voted out of power in 1998 in Delhi following spiralling onion prices. The Assembly polls in Delhi are slated for November.

On the alleged widespread hoarding of onions in Delhi, Yusuf denied the reports, saying the government has been keeping strict vigil and no trader has been able to hoard the vegetable.

The centre has already directed all state governments to crackdown on hoarders and speculators who are keeping onion prices artificially high. To mitigate the effect of soaring onion prices, the Delhi government on August 17 started selling onions at reasonable rates through 50 mobile vans across the city, but discontinued them when prices came down.

“I appeal to the Madhya Pradesh government to come down hard on hoarders. The BJP should not take help of onion prices to win election in Delhi,” said Yusuf.
Yusuf said good rainfall in a number of onion producing states and festivities in Maharashtra have also affected supply of onions to the city.

“The prices will come down significantly in the next five to ten days. We are doing everything possible to stabilise the rates,” said development minister Raj Kumar Chouhan, who looks after functioning of wholesale vegetable markets.

He said arrival of onions in Delhi used to be some 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes per day, but the city has received a total of 1,500 tonnes in the past two days.

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