| Consumers buy onions from a government controlled fair price shop in Berhampur. Picture by Gopal Krishna Reddy |
Bhubaneswar, Aug 13: The state government has stepped up measures to curb the skyrocketing price of onion in the city, which has now touched the mark of Rs 60 a kg.
This evening, the food and civil supplies and consumer welfare department opened onion counters at 100 fair price shops in Bhubaneswar alone, selling the vegetable at Rs 46 a kg.
With onion prices rising, various political parities have got engaged in a blame game as they wanted to take the issue to the public keeping their eyes on the ensuing civic polls. In a bid to bring the rate of onion under control, a team of the department officials today conducted raids on some godowns at Aiginia and collected the entire stock of onion from wholesalers paying only Rs 1 more than the wholesale price.
Around 400 packets of onion, weighed at about 180 quintals, were procured and provided to various public distribution centres across the city and at Jatni for sale at a nominal price.
“We purchased onion at Rs 44 per kg from the wholesaler s at Aiginia, which was Rs 1 more than his rate of purchase. These onions were provided to 100 public distribution centres and 5 Maitri model selling point stores in Bhubaneswar and 33 public distribution centres at Jatni,” said Sudhakar Pradhan, district civil supplies officer of Khurda.
He added that these government-controlled shops would sell onion at Rs 46 per kg. The price of onion at Unit-I daily market was reduced a bit after the state government’s efforts to provide onion at Rs 46 per kg.
A kg of onion was sold at Rs 50 at Unit-I market today, while the price was hovering around Rs 55 to Rs 60-a-kg at other places. In the afternoon, people were seen queuing up in front of the fair price shops to purchase their share of onion.
People were happy with the government move to curb the price of onions.
Civil supplies officials said that they had been keeping track on the onion wholesalers and have urged them not to stockpile onion.
Food and civil supplies and consumer welfare minister Pratap Keshari Deb said: “All these are temporary measures, but the Centre should think of taking concrete steps such as importing onions from Pakistan as it did to control such a situation four years ago.”
While the entire state is talking about the onion crisis, the political parties have hinted at raising the issue in the ensuing civic polls.
Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said that the rise in the price of onion and other food items would be a major issue in the coming civic polls.
“The state government has failed miserably in containing price rise in all fronts,” he said.
BJP leader Suresh Pujari declared that the state government’s failure to check the rising prices of the consumer durables would be used as a major poll issue by their party.
However, the food and civil supplies and consumer welfare minister blamed the Centre for a faulty export policy, as the Union agriculture ministry had never imagined the repercussions of a large-scale onion export before taking a decision on the issue.