Team to visit Egypt, Turkey to procure onions

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 08, 2019 Published on November 08, 2019

A team of officials is being rushed to countries such as Egypt and Turkey to procure onions in view of the severe shortage of the bulb, a high-level meeting convened by Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba was told on Friday.

The official team will consist of representatives from departments of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs as well as state-run institutions like Nafed and MMTC, Depart of Consumer Affairs Secretary Akhilesh Kumar Srivastava informed the meeting chaired by the Cabinet Secretary.

The government has also asked MMTC to urgently source “a substantial quantity” of onions from Dubai and other countries to augment domestic supplies.

Nafed has been directed to speed up procurement, particularly from the Alwar region in Rajasthan. Srivastava said the department is constantly assessing the demand from various States.

According to official sources, the demand for onions now is mainly from Delhi, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, where onion is cultivated said they do not need supply from the central pool at the same time as they do not have surplus to supply. Maharashtra said nearly 50 per cent of the crop has been damaged due to heavy rains this season. Other States have informed the Centre that they are yet to assess the demand in their respective States and would appraise the Centre in a day or two.

According to the sources, around 300 tonnes of onions are required currently. Demand is expected to go up further as more States come up with their assessment of requirement.

At the meeting, the Department of Consumer Affairs said it has requested State governments in Delhi and Rajasthan to keep their mandis open between November 9-12 to prevent any disruptions in supply. While November 9-10 is a weekend, many mandis are closed on subsequent days on account of Gurunanak Jayanti.

The Consumer Affairs Secretary also told the meeting that strict and appropriate action was being initiated against certain traders in Delhi, Maharashtra and Rajasthan who were conniving to manipulate the onion prices.

Published on November 08, 2019
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