The Centre on Wednesday asked States to take stringent action against hoarders and directed the Commerce Ministry to speed up onion imports as part of measures to ease the crisis over spiralling onion prices.

Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar, who is personally monitoring the situation, has told Commerce Secretary Rahul Khullar to “speed up” onion imports to augment domestic availability and check rising prices of onions, which are ruling at Rs. 70-85 per kg in retail markets across the country.

Official sources said the Cabinet Secretary has also asked the Railway Board to provide more rakes for expeditious movement of onions from producing regions to different parts of the country.

“The State governments have been asked to take stringent action against hoarders,” sources said.

The Cabinet Secretary will review the situation on Thursday with Secretaries of the Agriculture and Consumers Affairs Ministries, they said.

As part of measures to rein in onion prices, the government has already banned exports and abolished import duty on the commodity.

Due to the measures taken by the government, wholesale prices of onions have been declining since Tuesday, though the impact is yet to be seen in retail markets.

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