| A man buys onions from Anta Ghat market on Monday. Picture by Ashok Sinha |
The sting is back to leave people in tears.
Theories are aplenty — from export policy to incessant June rain — behind sky-rocketing onion price, which is rising almost every week, but the bottom line is shoppers are having nightmare in the morning.
On Monday, it was Rs 60 per kilogram — a steep 20 per cent rise from its Sunday rate of Rs 50.
If such is the trend, will it be Rs 100 by the end of this week? Maybe, feel traders at the city’s Anta Ghat market. They put the blame on erratic rainfall in areas where onion is grown, little stocks coupled with high demand and export of onion from Nashik market (Maharashtra) behind the escalating price graph.
Kabila Rai, a trader at Anta Ghat, said: “Nashik is the main supplier of onion to Bihar. As prices of onion in Nashik is high, it is affecting the rates in Bihar, too.” Kabila added that based on information provided by the traders at bazaar samiti (wholesale market regulator in Patna), a kilogram of onion in Nashik Mandi on Monday was sold at Rs 45.
Lakhan Mahto, a trader at bazaar samiti, echoed Kabila, arguing they had hardly any say over Nashik market. “We are selling one quintal of onion for Rs 5,200 on Monday,” he said.
Madhup Moitra, a city-based trader who was spotted at Anta Ghat market purchasing onion, said: “Onion is even beyond our reach because of its escalating price. A kilogram of onion, which was Rs 36 per kilogram a week ago, is now priced at Rs 60 and the prices are going to increase further once Shravan ends.” The auspicious month of Shravan will end on August 20 and the price of onion will just touch the sky when non-vegetarian cuisine would make a comeback.
Madhup blamed the Union government policy for failing to keep a tab on rise of onion prices. “We have come to know that the main reason behind rise of onion prices is export of onion to other countries,” he reasoned. Even traders at Anta Ghat support Madhup. Om Rai, another trader, said: “If the government bans export of onion to other counties from Nashik market, the prices would automatically fall.”
They also claimed that the prices of onion would not have gone up if the local production had not been not hit by incessant rainfall in June. Onion is locally produced in the diara area and Nalanda district but the three-day rainfall in June destroyed the crop at field.
Even restaurant owners have started changing their menu. Dharmendra Yadav, who has a restaurant on Frazer Road, said: “We have stopped offering onions to our customers during meals. Instead of onions, we are giving them radish and cucumber.”