Onion traders declared to strike work on Wednesday to protest income tax raids at the mandis, even as the arrivals, at a little more than 550 tonnes, on Tuesday were considerably less.
The traders are angry at government calling them 'hoarders' and directing the income Tax (I-T) raids. "The government is defaming us by calling us hoarders. They are trying to ruin our image," said a trader on conditions of anonymity.
"For now, we are going on strike tomorrow (Wednesday). There will be a meeting on Wednesday wherein we will decide whether or not to continue the strike," said Rajender Sharma, general secretary of the Tomato and Onion Merchants Association.
The I-T department had carried out checks throughout Monday at the Azadpur mandi.
Delhi government, on the other hand, was cautious on the issue of the strike.
Food and supplies minister Haroon Yusuf said: "Right now, there is no proposal to invoke Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) against the traders. We will look into the traders' problems."
Traders and retailers fear retail prices in the Capital are likely to shoot up because of the strike and the lesser arrivals.
Assured Jayashree Raghuraman, Delhi's commissioner (food & supplies): "NCCF and Nafed have central government subsidy for transport and they are procuring onions directly from feeder states."
These subsidised onions would be available at Mother Dairy's Safal and Kendriya Bhandar at R39 per kg, she said.
On Tuesday, the arrivals at the mandi were less compared to normal. Said Brahma Yadav, chairman of Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board, "We received only 568.6 tonnes of onions from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Retail prices on Tuesday ranged between R55 and R70 per kg across colonies, although the wholesale rates ranged from Rs 17.50 to Rs 45.0 per kg (for best quality).
Monday had seen 1,300 tonnes arrival of onions.