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Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Thursday ruled out a drop in production of onions this year and said the situation should improve in about three weeks.
His colleague commerce minister Anand Sharma, however, chose to blame hoarding as the cause, but that came as little consolation to Delhi CM Shiela Dikshit who sought urgent measures to cool spiraling prices.
Pawar said the temporary shortage was fuelled by delay in harvests and bottoming out of previous stocks.
Delhi chief minister Sheila Dikshit met Pawar and food minister KV Thomas and requested them to order NAFED, the government’s main food trading arm, to source onions and sell them on a “no-profit no-loss” basis.
“We are exploring the possibility of procuring onions at wholesale rates from major onion producing states, preferably from the cities of Nasik and Pune to improve supply,” Dikshit said.
“The onion shortage is a temporary situation. Heavy rains have affected crops in Karnataka and Maharashtra. Total area under the crop is higher than that of last year. No drop in production is expected,” Pawar said.
Commerce minister Sharma said there was no “real” scarcity of the produce and prices were expected to stabilise in the coming weeks.