Pawar blames Centre’s insurance policies for hovering onion costs

Mumbai, October 28

NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday blamed the central government’s policies for the spiralling prices of onion and said he would speak to the Centre about the stock limit imposed on the commodity traders.

Speaking to onion growers and traders in Nashik district of Maharashtra, Pawar said a comprehensive policy is needed regarding lifting of the export ban and stock limit of onion, and it should cover interests of all stakeholders.

Onion is being sold at Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kg at retail markets in Mumbai.

To contain onion prices, the Centre last week imposed stock holding limit on retail and wholesale traders till December 31 to improve the domestic availability of the key kitchen staple and provide relief to consumers.

Retailers can stock up onion up to 2 tonne, whereas wholesale traders are allowed to keep up to 25 tonne, it said.

To register their protest against the Centre’s move, traders kept off onion auctions for the last two days in all 15 Agriculture Produce Market Committees in Nashik, including at Lasalgaon APMC, Asia’s biggest onion market.

Pawar on Wednesday urged traders to reopen the markets for auction, and said banning export and promoting import was contradictory and the stock limit condition should also be removed.

He further said the Centre had excluded onion from the list of essential commodities and at the same time, there were raids against traders.

“I don’t think the instructions came from the state government,” the former Union agriculture minister said.

“The state government is not responsible for action against traders. The decision on import and export of onion takes place at the central government-level,” said Pawar, whose party is an alliance partner in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government.

Nashik has always been known for growing quality onion and rise and fall in market prices affect onion the most, he added.

Maharashtra is one of the top producers of onion and Nashik is a major hub of the commodity. — PTI



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