Worried over high onion prices ahead of assembly elections, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit is scheduled to meet Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Food Minister K.V. Thomas on Thursday to discuss the situation.
Besides, Mr. Pawar and Mr. Thomas are expected to meet separately on this issue on Thursday. It is likely that finance and commerce ministers might join the meeting to finalise measures to ward off rising onion inflation, sources said.
Onion prices in the national capital have remained high since last three months on supply crunch due to unseasonal rains in producing areas. Retail prices have gone up to Rs. 90 per kg now.
“Delhi Chief Minister is meeting two Union Ministers on Thursday to discuss the onion issue. A separate meeting has been fixed with Minister of Agriculture and Minister of Food and Consumer Affairs Minister tomorrow on onion issue,” according to a source.
The meeting will focus on ways to improve onion supplies and control prices in the national capital, they added.
Meanwhile, Mr. Pawar on Wednesday indicated that onion prices might remain high for 2-3 weeks, and asked states to crack down on hoarders to help tame the rates.
“...next two to three weeks will be tough and ultimately we have to find a solution,” Mr Pawar said in Bangalore.
Mr. Pawar also said he would inform Thomas that the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) is ready to import some quantity.
Onion is a politically sensitive commodity in the country. In 1998, the BJP government was voted out of power in Delhi due to increase in onion prices to Rs. 60 per kg.
Ms. Dikshit had come to power riding on public anger over onion price. Ironically, she is facing similar challenge ahead of state elections to be held on December 4.
In August, Ms. Dikshit had met Mr. Pawar and urged him to take immediate steps to control prices. However, since then, the price situation has rather worsened.