UP mulls stepping up onion imports from other states to cool runaway prices

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With retail rising hitting Rs 80-100/kg range, the has decided to clampdown upon hoarders to control the prices of the commodity.

The government also intends to step up onion imports from other states viz. Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh to cater the market demand in UP.

UP chief secretary R K Tiwari, last evening, reviewed the onion supply situation and stressed it was the responsibility of concerned officials to ensure adequate availability of onion at affordable prices.

He directed the department officials and law enforcement agencies in UP to take strict action against hoarders, since they create artificial scarcity of onion in the market, which further fuels the commodity’s price index.

The onion stock with traders would be physically verified to ensure there was no hoarding, although the government has yet not fixed onion stock ceiling. The officials have been asked to apprise the chief secretary’s office of the steps being taken on a daily basis.

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On Wednesday, union food and public distribution minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said crop loss owing to floods in key onion growing areas had created a demand and supply gap, resulting in price rise.

“The main reason behind rising is the demand and supply gap. The crop got destroyed due to rains and floods. People will get relief by November end,” he had told a agency. Paswan had also chaired a meeting with union consumer affairs secretary AK Srivastava and food secretary Ravi Kant to discuss the onion situation, including possible import to curb price rise.

Earlier, the Department of Consumer Affairs (DoCA) had advised the Centre to act as facilitator for onion imports for ensuring a speedy arrival of the commodity from other countries.

In October 2019, the Adityanath government had opened onion outlets for selling the commodity at controlled rates, when its prices were ruling high owing to short supply. The chief secretary had directed the district magistrates to open such outlets at important spots, including Mandi Parishad premises.

The state had decided to swoop down on onion hoarders, while setting the stock limit of 50 and 10 tonnes for wholesale and retail traders respectively.

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