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Onion prices to ease soon, says Indian minister
Publication Date : 20-09-2013
Amid soaring onion prices bringing tears to the eyes of consumers across the country as the essential ingredient for major Indian dishes has become inaccessible, Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar yesterday sparked off a minor controversy when he told a television channel that he shared “no responsibility” on this.
However, the Maratha strongman known for his pro-farmers image, later said the prices of onion will ease in 2 to 3 weeks after fresh supplies reach market.
“I am not dealing with this. The Consumer Affairs ministry is dealing with this,” he told a TV channel.
Interestingly, Pawar's statement comes close on the heels of remarks from union Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal, who had yesterday said, “Why don’t you ask the traders this? The government is not the one selling onions.”
The prices of onion in retail market is at present hovering around 70 to 80 rupees (under a dollar) per kilo in most parts of the country with dealers attributing the reason to short supply due to untimely rains in Kerala.
However, the Agriculture Minister later said that onion prices will ease in the next two-three weeks when fresh output arrives from Maharashtra and other states, providing relief to consumers.
“After talking to farmers and traders, my own assessment is that the arrival of new kharif crops will increase substantially in the next two-three weeks and prices will come down,” he said.
Moreover, he indicated that supplies are also likely to improve as small quantities of imported onions have arrived.
The Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas is likely to write to the chief ministers, especially of Maharashtra and Karnataka where reportedly “most hoarding” is taking place. The government has already imposed restrictions on the export of onion.
India exports onion to Sri Lanka, West Asia besides a small quantity to European countries.
There are no futures markets in onions to send any advance price signal about supply conditions of the commodity, according to officials.