Maharashtra chief minister Prithviraj Chavan on Wednesday demanded lifting of the ban on onion exports and sought to clear the air over the role of Sharad Pawar in imposing it, saying the Union Agriculture Minister had opposed the measure in the Cabinet meeting.
Chavan called the Centre's decision an "injustice" to the state and demanded that the ban be lifted immediately to provide relief to farmers.
Noting that Pawar had opposed the measure when it came before the Union Cabinet on September 8, Chavan told reporters he had been assured by senior Central ministers that the decision will be reviewed.
"When I was in Delhi for the NIC meeting, I met union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, home minister P Chidambaram, commerce minister Anand Sharma and spoke to agriculture minister Sharad Pawar over telephone and requested that the ban on onion exports be lifted," he said.
Chavan said the ban was imposed fearing that prices may shoot up due to "artificial scarcity". "Centre's worry was that the retail rates of onion should not go up," he said.
Pointing out that Maharashtra accounted for 2/3rd of onion exports, he said, "Nearly 8 to 9 lakh tonnes of onion are stored in the state. If the stored crop is damaged, there would be calamity."
He said state agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil is in Delhi to discuss the situation with the Centre.