Onion prices have gone down to Rs 50-55 per kg on Friday from Rs 60 per kg a day before but the poor quality of this essential food item available at public owned or cooperative outlets has left a bad taste in people's mouth.
With all outlets of Mother Dairy's Safal (288), National Consumer Cooperative Federation (13), five of Nafed, a farmers' cooperative, and select outlets of Kendriya Bhandar selling the tearjerker at Rs 40 per kg, it had a cascading effect on retail prices in open markets.
Most of the areas saw prices coming down to Rs 50 to Rs 55 per kg. The arrivals at the Azadpur mandi were satisfactory with Delhi receiving 1,200 tonnes of onions selling at wholesale price range of Rs 8 per kg to Rs 35 per kg (best quality).
Since Monday, onion prices had hit the roof owing to supply shortage due to un-seasonal rains in feeder states, prompting government intervention two days ago.
But the buyers are complaining about the quality of onions at the Safal and Kendriya Bhandar outlets.
Said Radha Mani, a central government employee, "I was happy to read in papers that onions would be available at Rs 40 per kg. But when I actually saw the quality, I did not buy it."
Echoed Tilak Ram, a Doordarshan employee, "These Rs 40 onions have lot of moisture. Plus they are very small in size."
Apart from the 'government onions' - as these are being called by consumers - many outlets were selling onions at Rs 55 per kg from the pending stock of earlier wholesale purchases. This, too, led to a lot of confusion amongst buyers.
Ravi Kumar (name changed on request), manning a Safal counter in central Delhi, said, "The government should have decided Rs 45 per kg rate and brought in better quality onions."
Jayashree Raghuraman, secretary Delhi's food & supplies department, said, "We have drawn attention of the CEO of Mother Dairy to rectify this."