To ensure that city residents get onions and potatoes at a reasonable price, the UT administration has decided to sell these essential commodities on mobile vans at controlled rates within the next few days. Three such vans will be pressed into service with capacity of 50 quintal (5,000 kg each). The routes have not been decided yet, but will cover the southern sectors and the colonies.
The two kitchen staples will be sold at Rs 1 more than the wholesale price of that day.
Danish Ashraf, joint secretary, food and supplies, said prices of onion had hit the roof and that prompted the move. "To begin with, we have planned to set up three such vans and will later increase its number," said Ashraf.
The department of food and supplies is already selling onions and potatoes at a controlled rate at four fair price shops (FPS) - one each at Mauli Jagran, Sector 46, Sector 37D and EWS flats in Dhanas - at `23 per kg, while the rate of these items in the market is between `28 to `32 per kg.
According to officials, over 1,500 kg of onions are being sold on a daily basis at these four FPS. On directions of UT administrator Shivraj Patil, the secretary market committee provides wholesale rate of agriculture produce, especially onions and potatoes, and the district food and supplies officer (DFSO) fixes the retail prices on a daily basis.
The department is also maintaining a record of arrival of onions and potatoes, and their retail and wholesale-market rates. Three sub-divisional level committees have also been constituted comprising sub-divisional magistrates (SDM), station house officers (SHOs), food supply inspector, mandi supervisor and marketing supervisor to check rates and storage of these items. The police department has been asked to do surprise checking in civil clothes to check their storage and rates.
Shashi Shankar Tiwari, colonies cell president of Congress, lauded the efforts made by the administration and said it would benefit poor people residing in colonies. He demanded that the number of such centres and mobile vans be increased so that more people can be benefitted. He further asked the department to keep a close watch on FPS to ensure that they do not indulge in any malpractice.