The Centre has directed all state governments including Maharashtra to take action against traders and speculators keeping onion prices artificially high by taking advantage of the seasonal shortage.
Onion prices both in wholesale and retail markets in most parts of the country have seen a sharp increase since July. In the national capital, retail prices of onion are ruling as high as 80 per kg on short supply from key growing states.
“All states and Union Territories have been asked to take action against traders/speculators creating artificial price increase of onion taking advantage of seasonal shortage,” a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official said.
Maharashtra, where maximum onion is stored for use in lean season, has been asked to ensure steady supply of the staple vegetable in the consuming markets, the official said.
The state government has been directed to intimate the Centre if there is any blockage in supply chain as that can cause price rise, the official added.
Onion prices are under pressure as 90 per cent of stored onions oare exhausted and there is only 3-4 lakh tonnes available for consumption, the Ministry said. Around 27.5 lakh tonnes of onion were stored in the country for consumption in 2013. Normally, stored onions are consumed during lead period of June-August. The prices continue to rule high as supply of fresh crops from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh has not been in full swing yet.PTI