The skyrocketing onion prices ~ currently touching Rs 140 a kilo in city markets ~ are bringing real tears to people’s eyes. Many of the city’s middleclass that was already reeling after the price of the vegetable after touched the century mark, are now thinking of completely omitting it from their kitchen essentials list. Given the hole that the pink vegetable has been burning in their pockets, the people of Bengal who love strong flavours in their dishes, do not mind a change in taste of their favourite foods in the absence of onions.

With the price dropping by about rupees 20 for a brief period, Kolkatans got some respite for a few days. But as they were hoping for a better situation this week, the prices reached a new high today, upto rupees 140 a kilo at some of the city markets. The price of 40kg of onion at Posta market shot up to rupees 4000 to 4200 today. The crisis is expected to aggravate in the next few days as the prices are likely to shoot through the roof and touch the Rs150 mark. The sudden spike in prices of the pink vegetable, according to members of the Posta Bazar Merchants’ Association, is the result of incessant rain in Alwar in Rajasthan.

After a shortfall of supply from Nasik in Maharashtra, the Gateway City of Rajasthan, had been sending 30 truckloads of onions to the state every day. However, a heavy downpour for six continuous hours is said to have damaged not only the crops, but also the stock that was to be loaded in the vehicles to be brought to the city and its adjoining areas. The damage to a huge stock of the vegetable has created a shortage of supply in the state. “To add to the woes, onion merchants from Nasik are flocking to Alwar to get hold of the available stock,” informed a member of the Posta Bazar Merchants’ Association.

“On the other hand, south India is facing an acute shortage of onions, as some of the districts producing the vegetable are awaiting the fresh harvest,” he added. Chandan Chakraborty, working president of Posta Bazar Merchants’ Association, pointed out, “At least 50 truckloads of onions are required every day to meet the demand. However, due to the shortage of supply, only three trucks have entered the city today. The situation is unlikely to improve before the last week of December.”