How I-T raids on onion traders will affect price of the kitchen staple

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on October 16, 2020 Published on October 16, 2020

FILE PHOTO: A man sorts onions at a vegetable wholesale market in Mumbai, India, February 14, 2019. REUTERS/Francis Mascarenhas/File Photo   -  REUTERS

As onion prices in the wholesale and retail market are slowly climbing up, income tax officials have raided premises of major onion traders in Asia’s largest onion market Lasalgaon ( Nashik) in the last couple of days.

Wholesale onion price at Lasalgaon is touching ₹5,000 per quintal as quality onion supply has declined and experts predict a further rise in the price. Any rise and fall in price at Lasalgaon has a spiralling impact on onion prices across the markets in India.

Traders have threatened to continue to boycott on auctions if IT action continues. They say that the government’s “tactics” to pressurise them will boomerang and disturb the onion supply. Maharashtra has a 33 per cent share in India’s onion production; 80-90 per cent of the onion that comes to the Lasalgaon market is of export quality.

“The market is closed as traders are not participating in auctions. It has become a routine that when onion prices soar, the IT department jumps into action. In past, these kinds of actions have helped to stabilise the onion price. But the price will be stable only for the next 15 days as there is supply shortage in the market,” said Suvarna Jagtap, Lasalgaon APMC chairperson. She added that markets across India would face problems as Nashik sends onion to almost all major markets. “ In last one month, prices have gone up by ₹1,000-1,500 and farmers who have stored summer onion are not bringing the produce in the market hoping to get more price,” she added.

Lasalgaon Onion Traders' Association president Nandkumar Daga demanded that the government must form a policy for onion prices instead of grilling traders.

Bharat Dighole, President, Maharashtra State Onion Growers’ Association, said, “The new crop is damaged because of rains and a huge amount of onion stored by Maharashtra farmers in chawls is completely destroyed. The flow of onion from States like Andhra and Karnataka stand affected because of damage caused by rains”. Dighole added that the government must not take an anti-farmer stand by creating panic among traders.

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Published on October 16, 2020
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