Long queues of men and women standing separately holding voter IDs, Aadhaar cards amid tight police security and CCTV coverage – this scene from an election day is now witnessed at the rythu-bazaars (farmer markets) of Hyderabad where the Telangana government is selling onion at a subsidized rate of Rs 20 per kg.
The bulby vegetable is selling at about Rs 60 in the city as on Monday and even at around Rs 80 per kg in some places, up from Rs 40 two weeks back. To control the spiraling prices of onions both Andhra Pradesh and Telangana government had, earlier this month, initiated sale of onion at Rs 20 per kg at the farmer markets.
But with complaints of small traders, restaurateurs availing most of the benefit and incidents of disorder and stone pelting at one of the selling points, authorities have put in place the security and checks to ensure availability of the now pricey commodity to maximum people possible.
Each person would have to show a government ID proof and get his/her finger inked to avail the two kg onion per head. While many people are standing for hours at the rythu bazaars to ease some burden on their household expenses, others are grudgingly buying the bulbs at a premium.
“What to do? Onion prices have sky rocketed but this is a vegetable without which a meal cannot be made. So, even as it is a burden for middle class households we are forced to buy it at a premium cost,” said Lakshmi Anarapu, a housewife from Malkajgiri in Secunderabad.
Restaurateurs have reduced the proportion of onions in their preparations and have become stingy in serving the complimentary onion salad to the customers.
Apart from local markets, the Telangana government is procuring onions from Nashik in Maharashtra and Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.
Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu had reviewed the onion prices and ordered the officials to clampdown on merchants hoarding the stocks.
“There should be a strict monitoring mechanism. Black marketers will have to face stringent action if found guilty of cartelisation,” Naidu ordered the civil supplies department.