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Pak onions will not wipe consumers' tears

Little relief as traders question quality of imported onions.

mumbai Updated: Jan 04, 2011 01:31 IST
G Mohiuddin Jeddy

Onions prices continue to burn deep holes in the consumers’ pockets, and little relief is in sight.

Most of the 200 tonnes of onions imported from Pakistan through the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) have been dispatched to various parts of the country. However, traders claim that the quality of the imported onions is not up to the mark.

While news reports were making rounds that the onions were rotting at JNPT, APMC director Ashok Walunj claimed that they were dispatched to Pune, Bangalore, Chennai as well as the APMC market in Navi Mumbai on Sunday itself.

Around 33 bags of 40kg each were delivered to the APMC market in Mumbai on Monday. The import has, however, not resulted in any price drop in the wholesale market. In fact, there has been a slight increase.

Wholesale onion prices, which had dropped to Rs 35-40 per kg from Rs 60 per kg, were being sold at Rs 40-50 per kg on Monday at the APMC market. In the retail market onions were selling for Rs 50-60 per kg.

According to the proprietor of Rahul traders, the onions from Pakistan would be of

little help. “They are not of very good quality. The common man does not purchase these kinds of onions. Most of them are taken by hotels,” he said.

Santosh Padekar, an onion trader, claimed that demand for onions in the south had resulted in a marginal increase in prices.

However, Walunj claim there will be a drop in prices in mid-January.

“Usually after Makar Sankranti which is around January 15, produce from Pune comes in. That will help take care of the existing shortage. Prices will then be down to Rs 20-25 per kg in the wholesale market,” he said. “Till then the people will have to bear with the hiked prices.”

Meanwhile, around six containers of onions are still lying with the JNPT. They are still to go through the mandatory clearance processes and should be dispatched on Tuesday.

NM Kumar, deputy chairman of JNPT, said: “We are very particular about containers from Pakistan. All consignments imported from there have to go through an extensive scanning process for security reasons. The remaining containers will be scanned at the earliest possible.”

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