Vijayawada

72,000 quintals of onion procured in 4 months

Patient wait: People line up to buy onion at subsidised prices at a Rythu Bazaar in Vijayawada.

Patient wait: People line up to buy onion at subsidised prices at a Rythu Bazaar in Vijayawada.  

Burden on exchequer estimated to be ₹37.28 crore; serpentine queues continue at Rythu Bazaars

The State government procured over 72,000 quintals of onion from various sources to supply the stock to Rythu Bazaars (farmers’ direct selling points) in the State in the wake of spiralling prices of the vegetable.

The onion stocks were procured from Solapur, Alwar, Kurnool and Tadepalligudem as well as from the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED). Onion was purchased at prices varying from ₹28 a kg to ₹120, and was sold at a heavily subsidised price of ₹25 per kg at the Rythu Bazaars.

The onion scarcity was first felt in Andhra Pradesh on September 27, 2019. Acting swiftly, the government bought 6,730 quintals of onion at ₹28.69 a kg. The burden on the exchequer then came to ₹34.92 lakh. The government continued purchasing onion at regular intervals. On January 1, the procurement stood at 281 quintals worth ₹16.95 lakh.

The government reportedly procured 5,869 quintals of onion through NAFED. The highest procurement was from Kurnool at 26,565 quintals. A huge quantity of onion stock was purchased at Solapur and Alwar (23,993 quintals) if markets outside the State are to be considered. Around 2,860 quintals were procured from Lasalgon, which is a prominent onion market.

“The State government has taken steps such as providing subsidy through a Market Stabilisation Fund to supply onion at subsidised prices. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has been closely monitoring the situation,” said Marketing and Animal Husbandry Minister Mopidevi Venkata Ramana.

The government procured onion at an average price of ₹76.72 a kg, and sold it at ₹25 a kg. Onion worth ₹54.21 crore was purchased but supplied to consumers at Rythu Bazaars at a subsidised rate. The government would have to shoulder a burden of ₹37.28 crore towards subsided onion. Even as onion prices skyrocketed above ₹100 a kg in many States, Andhra Pradesh managed to retain it at ₹25 per kg at the Rythu Bazaar outlets. Onion would be supplied at ₹25 per kg through Rythu Bazaars till the prices in the open market stabilise,” Mr. Venkata Ramana said.

Despite the efforts of the government, onion stalls at Rythu Bazaars continue to witness serpentine queues. Buyers are reportedly ruing that several hours are spent standing in queue for a kg of onion.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 7:02:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/72000-quintals-of-onion-procured-in-4-months/article30467200.ece

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