Poll concerns push Delhi govt to sell onion at wholesale rates

Poll concerns push Delhi govt to sell onion at wholesale rates

Wary of the increase in onion prices ahead of the Assembly polls, the Delhi government has decided to deploy 125 mobile vans to sell onions at wholesale price in different areas of the city from Monday.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said on Saturday that her government is taking all possible measures to provide the staple vegetable to people at the cheapest possible rates.

“We requested the Election Commission to permit the government agencies to sell onions directly to people as it was an ongoing process. The permission was granted yesterday,” she said.

“Around 50 vans were deployed to sell onions in different areas on Friday. The number was increased to 80 today (Saturday). From Monday, a total of 125 vans will be deployed to sell onions at wholesale rate,” she added.

The mobile vans sold onions at Rs 55 per kg on Saturday. Each van will cater to at least four areas, thus covering maximum parts of the city.

The chief minister said the officials concerned have been directed to visit Nashik and Alwar mandis to ensure that traders supply adequate amount of onions to Delhi.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf said onion prices are likely to stabilise within three-four days as the arrival from Rajasthan is picking up rapidly.

“On Friday, arrival of onion was 1,400 tonne. Today (Saturday) it has increased to 1,600 tonne. Since the daily demand for onion is around 900 tonne, we still have a balance of around 600 tonne in stock,” said Yusuf.

Ministers in the Delhi government also played down the contention that onion prices could cost them politically, as it happened with the then BJP government in 1998 when onion prices touched Rs 100 per kg.

“Prices have not touched Rs 100 still in all areas of the city. Moreover, there is a difference in the value of Rs 100 in 2013 as compared to 1998 due to devaluation of rupee.

Moreover, over the last 15 years, the city government has tripled the minimum wages from what it was in 1998,” said Urban Development Minister Arvinder Singh Lovely.

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