Monday, 30th October 2017

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Hasina: I told the cook to stop using onions

India imposed a blanket ban on onion exports on Sunday to check domestic prices of the staple

  • Published 5.10.19, 2:03 AM
  • Updated 5.10.19, 2:03 AM
  • 2 mins read
Sheikh Hasina at the India-Bangladesh Business Forum in New Delhi on Friday (PTI)

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday made a request to India: Next time you decide to impose a blanket ban on exports as you did with onions, do warn us in advance.

Hasina brought the house down at the Bangladesh Business Forum, held on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum here, when she broke into Hindi to say: “Pyaaz leke thoda dikkat ho gaya hamare liye. Mujhe maaloom nahi kyon aapne pyaaz band kar diya. Uske baad maine kya kiya, hamaare cook ko main bol diya ki abse pyaaz deke khaana mat pakao. Pyaaz band kar do…. thoda sa notice dene se achcha hota ki hum bhi thoda doosra jagah se laa sakte the. Achanak aapne band kar diya hamare liye mushkil ho gaya. Aage se agar… aisa kuch karna hai toh hume thoda se pehle bata dena hai.’’

“We faced a little difficulty over onions. I don’t know why you stopped onion exports. So what did I do, I asked our cook to stop using onions…. Had you give a little notice, it would have been good so we could also have procured from elsewhere. You stopped the exports suddenly, it became a problem for us. In future, if you are doing something similar, do let us know early.”

India imposed a blanket ban on onion exports on Sunday to check domestic prices of the staple. On Monday, Bangladeshi newspaper The Daily Star reported that onion prices there had shot up by about 71 per cent. Bangladesh is now importing onions from Myanmar, Turkey, Egypt and China to make up for the shortfall.

Asked what India proposed to do in view of what the Bangladeshi Premier said, foreign office spokesman Raveesh Kumar replied: “We have seen her statement. We are trying to see how we can accommodate the concerns raised by her.”

As to how India planned to reconcile the contradictory statements made by different ministers on the National Register of Citizens — particularly since it is a matter of concern for Bangladesh and Hasina is to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday — Kumar said: “On NRC we have been saying it is a Supreme Court-mandated process. It is an ongoing exercise and therefore from the MEA perspective there is nothing I can add at this stage. It is important to understand that the due process has to be completed first and there are several appellate processes that have to be completed first before we reach that stage.’’

Over the past couple of months, home minister Amit Shah has said that those left out of the NRC would be deported. External affairs minister S. Jaishankar had said during a visit to Bangladesh that NRC is an internal matter.

Although Hasina told a gathering in Delhi on Thursday evening that Modi had assured her when the two met in New York last week that Bangladesh would not be affected by NRC, sources said that Shah’s statement and the absence of clarity from the government on what would happen to those left out is a cause of great concern in Dhaka, which is already shouldering the burden of Rohingya refugees.