Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday urged the state governments to make use of the central buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes of the kitchen staple, to boost supply in the local market and curb rising prices.
Onion prices have been inching up in Delhi and select cities across the country on possible tight supply, owing to crop loss because of floods in major-growing states like Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
Retail onion prices on Monday were ruling the highest at Rs 45 per kg in Chandigarh, followed by Rs 42 per kg in Delhi, and at Rs 40 per kg in six cities including Varanasi and Aizawl, according to data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.
"We reviewed the price situation of onion and other essential commodities today (Monday). We have already directed Mother Dairy and cooperative NAFED to sell onion at Rs 23.90 per kg at their outlets. We have also asked state governments to lift the central buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes," Paswan told reporters after the meeting.
The Centre has only two agencies - Mother Dairy and Nafed - to rely on for intervention and they are doing their job. The state governments, however, have come forward to address the situation, he said.
"We have enough supply of onion, 50,000 tonnes in the buffer stock. We request the state governments to lift the stock and ensure prices do not rise further," Paswan said.
Stating that the Centre is closely monitoring the price situation, the minister said the price data of other essential commodities, such as pulses and edible oils, shows no major increase in retail rates.