STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
New Delhi, 25 October
Even as the beleaguered government is battling hard to checkmate skyrocketing onion prices, Union Food Minister, Mr K V Thomas, today said traders of the essential ingredient should not “loot” consumers.
He also said onion prices will come down in the next 10 days with the fresh arrival of domestic and imported stock. The Food Minister appeared to be contradicting the Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar’s statement that it could take at least three weeks to bring down the prices.
Onion prices have been ruling at Rs 70-90 per kg in most parts of the country and even touched Rs 100 per kg in some cities like Patna and Jammu while it reached about Rs 90-100 in some parts of Delhi.
On the basis of private arrangement by traders, the onions have started arriving from Afghanistan. About 10 truckloads reached Attari border last night, market sources said.
The Food Minister said there is “no need to be alarmed” about the situation and pointed out that the final decision on onion import tender floated by the cooperative Nafed would be taken on 29 October.
The fresh shipments would arrive after three-four days, he said. “Onion prices will come down in the next 10 days. Traders should take legitimate margin but not loot consumers.”
The EC tonight gave its nod to Delhi&’s proposal to buy onions, prices of which have soared in recent weeks.