NEW DELHI :
The Centre on Wednesday extended the stock holding limits on onions for an indefinite period of time as the prices of the essential commodity continued to hover at an elevated level of ₹80 to ₹100 a kg across the country.
“Stock holding limit on retailers and wholesalers are being further extended until further orders…A letter has been written by the consumer affairs secretary to chief secretaries of all states asking them to suitably reduce the stock limits further in their States as per the availability and prices. They have also been exhorted to strictly enforce these stock limits and send an action taken report on a weekly basis,” a government release said.
The stock holding limit was imposed in September. At present, retailers can stock onion only up to 100 quintals, and wholesale traders are allowed to keep up to 500 quintals.
The Centre has also banned exports of onion and is importing 1.2 lakh tonne to control prices.
State-owned trading agency MMTC has said the first shipment of onions from Egypt would arrive by December second week. The public sector trading firm has contracted imports of 6,090 tonne of onions. It has floated a country-specific tender.
The secretary, department of consumer affairs had chaired an inter-ministerial meeting on Wednesday to monitor the price and availability of onions across the country.
Union minister for food and consumer affairs minister Ram Vilas Paswan has said high onion prices is a cause of concern and a team of five Union ministers, chaired by the home minister Amit Shah, is monitoring the situation.
“The government is making all efforts to get onion stock from Egypt, Turkey and Holland as early as possible for distribution among states and cooperatives,” the release added.
According to Paswan, India’s 2019-20 onion output is likely to have declined 26% to 5.2 million tonne due to a delayed monsoon initially which delayed sowing followed by untimely rains and cyclones. An onion buffer stock of 57,000 tonne has been liquidated.