Imported onions to give Centre teary eyes - here's why

Imported onions to give Centre teary eyes - here's why

Government stares at 24K imported onions as prices soften

After demands from various states, the Centre had ordered imports of 42,000 tonnes of onions from countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan to boost supplies in the domestic markets where prices of the bulb had touched Rs 150 per kg. (DH Photo)

Centre is left staring at nearly 24,000 tonnes of imported onions as at least 12 state governments have refused to lift the kitchen staple following the arrival of the fresh domestic crop in the wholesale markets cooling down prices considerably.

After demands from various states, the Centre had ordered imports of 42,000 tonnes of onions from countries such as Egypt, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan to boost supplies in the domestic markets where prices of the bulb had touched Rs 150 per kg.

Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba held a meeting of chief secretaries of states on Tuesday and asked them to honour their demand for onions and lift the stocks as they arrive at the Mumbai port.

“18 states had put forth a cumulative demand of 33,139 tonnes of onions. Subsequently, states such as Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana, Karnataka and Orissa withdrew their demand,” Consumer Affairs Minister Ramvilas Paswan told reporters here.

In a bid to sweeten the deal for the states, Centre has offered to pick up the tab for transportation of onions to the respective states if they decide to honour their demands. Assam had refused to honour its demand of 10,000 tonnes of onions, followed by Maharashtra (3480 tonnes), Haryana (2500 tonnes), Karnataka (250 tonnes) and Orissa (100 tonnes).

The Centre will offer onions to the states at the landed cost in Mumbai port which is in the range of Rs 49 to Rs 58 per kg.

Centre has so far imported 12,000 tonnes of onions and offered it to state governments for direct retailing to consumers on the no-profit, no-loss basis in the price range of Rs 50-60 per kg.

By the end of this month, additional 36,000 tonnes of imported onion is expected to arrive in India which will help ease pressure on prices, he added.

Retail onion prices, which were ruling over Rs 100 per kg in most cities since last two months, have started softening now on arrival of imported onions and new Kharif crop.

Onion prices in Delhi ruling at Rs 80/kg on Tuesday, as against Rs 118 per kg on December 19, 2019. Similarly, prices in Mumbai have dropped to Rs 80 per kg from Rs 120 per kg in the said period, as per the government data.

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