In a time of national crisis, it is the government that must come up with a solution. This time, it is the exorbitant onion prices. The government should deal directly with farmers and the practice of middlemen should be ruled out completely. Transportation costs play a major role in price rise too. With rising fuel prices, the cost of goods invariably goes up. But it is the middleman who creates shortages to earn a double profit. Hiring middlemen as accountable employees may help control the situation. Umang Shukla
Votebanks to blame for price hike
Population is the biggest problem in India. It’s a silent a killer that threatens plant and animal life. India is proud of its young population. But think of the consumption rate 20 years from now. Meanwhile, political parties nurture votebanks and do little to promote population control. Votebank politics had led to onion prices shooting up. Akanksha Sharma
Crack down on profiteering
Our traders, wholesalers and retailers are notorious for their profiteering. They have created an artificial scarcity to hike prices, just as the Commerce minister had rightly predicted. ‘Unseasonal rains in Nashik’ is too stale a story to be accepted any more.
The PM has done the right thing in sidelining Sharad Pawar and taking charge of the price-rise problem. He should come down heavily on hoarders and profiteers, and also crack the whip on non-cooperating states under the NDA rule. As a long-term measure, the onion market should try and expand so it is less dependent on Nashik and Gujarat. Dr V Subramanyan
We need a better farm-to-fork chain
The price of onions has made the common man cry and, as has happened so often in the past, the Centre is now worried that the rising retail prices of this essential commodity will begin to topple their government.
The fact is that food inflation remains a sticky issue, even as the UPA talks of spurring farm productivity and boosting food security. We need to remember the need for structural changes to better combat periodic crises, whatever their cause.
Our farm-to-fork supply chain is poorly integrated and short on facilities. Reform is required for an organised retail expansion, which will benefit farmers and consumers by creating jobs and infrastructure, especially in storage and distribution. Commodities must move easily, especially during emergencies from surplus to deficit areas. Bhagwan Das
Less cricket, more agro, Mr Pawar
There seems to be no mechanism in place to control the price of onions, while Sharas Pawar has no time to attend to this crisis, as he is busy with cricket. The export of onions looks like a tailormade racket by traders and hoarders. Now, the government has woken up and exports have been banned, and Customs duty on import of onions slashed. Pawar’s statement that it will take another few weeks to bring down the price of onions till January 2012 is irresponsible. Drip irrigation could also help in production of onions whenever there is scanty rain. All the ministries — agriculture, railway, petroleum etc should work in tandem so prices of essential commodities do not increase in future. The state government should also abolish octroi and value-added tax on essential commodities. Deendayal Lulla
Scamster netas have no time for onions
The rising prices of onions and garlic (Rs 70 and Rs 350 per kg respectively) has taken a back seat on the government’s agenda, as the ruling coalition, the Opposition and the Left are busy wriggling free of a plethora of scams. The government should not take people for granted and should immediately stabilise the prices. KP Rajan