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Onion quips hit BJP poll slogan

The price of onions the districts of Jharkhand had crossed Rs 65 per kilo and retail price had crossed Rs 75 per kilo

By TT Bureau in Ranchi/Jamshedpur/Dhanbad
  • Published 27.11.19, 1:51 AM
  • Updated 27.11.19, 1:51 AM
  • a min read
  •  
People queue up for subsidised onions at Rs 35 per kilo outside the RMC office on Tuesday.

The BJP’s slogan of “Abki baar 65 paar (This time, 65-plus)” for this Assembly election seems to have been taken literally by onion traders.

A list of the price of onions in all 24 districts of Jharkhand published by a vernacular daily suggested that in most districts the wholesale price of the staple had crossed Rs 65 per kilo and retail price had crossed Rs 75 per kilo.

An insurance agent from Ranchi, Abhay Kumar, who has clients all across the state, said: “My clients often share with me onion prices of onions from their respective localities. We were in fact laughing that the case now is Abki baar 65 nahin 75 paar (This time, not 65 but 75-plus). In Ranchi, I purchased onions at Rs 80 per kilo.”

Food, public distribution and consumer affairs department secretary Amitabh Kaushal said they discussed onions at a meeting on Tuesday.

“Deputy commissioners have been asked to ensure onions aren’t hoarded. At a wholesaler’s, onion stocking is capped at 50MT; at a retailer’s, 10MT,” Kaushal said. Asked when prices would come down, he said: “Difficult to say.”

President of the Federation of Jharkhand Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FJCCI) Kunal Ajmani blamed untimely rain. “I have asked wholesalers not to hoard,” he said.

It’s the same story in the steel city and coal town.

For the past two days, Jamshedpur’s retail vendors are selling onion between Rs 80 and Rs 90. On Sunday, the price at one or two places touched the Rs 100 mark.

A source at Parsudih’s wholesale hub Krishi Utpad Bazaar Samiti (KUBS) claimed there was no scarcity of onions. “For the last one week, five to six trucks are bringing a 25-tonne consignment per truck from Nashik and other districts of Maharashtra,” the source said.

Rakesh Kumar, a wholesale dealer at Bistupur market, ruled out artificial hoarding. So why are the prices so high?

“The retailers are to be blamed for jacking up the price,” he said. “We are selling at Rs 70-75 a kilo, retailers at Rs 90. Wholesale price will go down to Rs 60-65 soon,” he said.

In Dhanbad, onion sold for Rs 80 to Rs 90 a kilo on Tuesday, the highest this season.