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Onion prices will still sting

Cuttack/Bhubaneswar, Jan. 3: The price of onions has been constantly fluctuating in the twin cities over the past couple of months.

Market experts have blamed crop loss in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Bengal and even districts such as Balangir in western Odisha, where onion is produced, for the situation and predicted that the situation would continue till fresh harvests from Maharashtra arrived.

Nivedita Lenka, a homemaker from Buxi Bazaar in Cuttack, is worried because the retail onion price has been varying between Rs 2 and Rs 5 per kilo in the city.

“The price is changing every alternate day. It was selling at Rs 20 a kg on Sunday, it climbed to Rs 24 on Wednesday and has come down to Rs 22 today,” she said.

The prices of onion have also increased by anything between Rs 5 and Rs 7 a kg in the past couple of months. Market sources said onion, which was available at Rs 14 to Rs 16 a kg in November last year, sold at Rs 24 in January. At present, the wholesale price of onion ranges between Rs 1,670 and Rs 1,750 a quintal at Chhatra Bazaar, the largest vegetable market of the state.

The retail price in Cuttack varies between Rs 20 and Rs 24 a kilo.

A Chhatra Bazaar Byabasayi Sangha member said most of the onion stocks come from Maharashtra while local production from western Odisha will be available from April-May. But the local production is not enough to meets the requirements for more than a month.

“There has been a sharp fall in the import of onion from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh because of bad weather. The fluctuation in price will continue till fresh stocks arrive over the next couple of months,” said Chhatrabazar Byabasai Mahasangha secretary Devendra Sahu.

“In November, the wholesale price of onion was between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,700 a quintal and in December, it went up to Rs 1,800 a quintal. Again in January, the wholesale price is hovering between Rs 1,500 and Rs 1,700 a quintal,” said wholesale stockiest Jayadev Sahu of Bhubaneswar. Usually, around 12 to 14 truckloads of onion come to the twin cities from other states. At present, the supply has come down to eight or 10 trucks and this is causing the problem.