Onion contracted from Pakistan by the state-owned agencies will arrive here by January 7. This is expected to further ease onion prices, which shot up to Rs. 85 a kg last month.

The first lot of imports contracted by PEC Ltd., a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the State Trading Corporation (STC) “is scheduled to reach Delhi by the end of next week,” official sources said.

PEC Ltd. and the STC were trying to bring in at least 1,000 tonnes from Pakistan, the sources said. The cost of these onions on landing here will be Rs.30 a kg. The supply will arrive in two or three lots.

Private imports

Private traders are also importing onion from Pakistan.

Onion prices surged to Rs.70-85 a kg during December 20-21 because of the damage the rains caused to the crop in Maharashtra, a major producer. Speculators were also suspected to be pushing up the prices. The prices have since eased to Rs.40-50 a kg in the retail market.

Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma had asked the STC and PEC Ltd. to go in for short-term imports, hoping that the prices would soften further. He had asked Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit to ensure immediate distribution of the onions through outlets such as Mother Dairy.

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