Saryu Roy orders onion price control measures
Food and civil supplies minister Saryu Roy on Monday directed East Singhbhum DC Ravi Shankar Shukla to set up convenience centres where onions would be sold at a price not more than three or four rupees over the wholesale prices.
The minister also told department secretary Amitabh Kaushal to discuss with onion wholesalers from across the state to open similar “suvidha kendras” across the state.
“We had witnessed a similar price rise in August 2014 and had set up suvidha kendras with assistance of NGOs, PDS dealers and chambers (Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry) which saw sale of onion at controlled rate till the supply from Nashik in Maharashtra improved,” Roy said.
Wholesalers told the minister that they have to depend solely on Nashik as rains have affected stocks in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.
“This has made the entire country depend on Nashik, which has led to the rise in prices,” said Raj Kumar Sah, a wholesaler.
Jamshedpur used to get seven truckloads of onion — one truck holds 25 tonnes — but is now getting only two truckloads at a price of Rs 44 per kg, to which the wholesaler adds their transport cost taking the price to over Rs 50 and when it reaches retail the prices goes up to Rs 60.
“I was told by the wholesalers that the matter has been aggravated by Bangladesh traders buying onions in bulk by direct cash payment from Nashik while the wholesalers from other parts of India pay to the Nashik wholesalers usually after getting stock (weeks later),” Roy said. “This has made the Nashik traders give huge quantities to Bangladesh traders, creating scarcity (in India). I will speak to Union food and public distribution minister Ram Vilas Paswan to issue a directive putting a cap on daily sale of onion to Bangladesh from Nashik.”
The minister said that he would be holding meetings on Tuesday to discuss possibility of sale of onions at controlled prices from suvidha kendras across the state till normality is restored.