A delegation led by state agriculture minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil met Union finance minister Pranab Mukherjee and Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Wednesday, requesting them to reconsider their decision to ban onion exports.
A delegation of 11 members of Parliament and state legislators met two cabinet ministers in New Delhi.
Last week, an empowered group of minister, headed by Mukherjee, banned exports to boost domestic supply and control rising retail prices.
This is the sixth day that all the onion markets in Nashik district, that contributes 60% of the state’s onion output, remained shut demanding lifting of the ban on onion exports.
“The finance minister has assured us that the decision will be reviewed in the next meeting of the empowered group of ministers,” said Vikhe-Patil after meeting the cabinet ministers.
Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan said that he too had spoken to both Mukherjee and Pawar over the issue and had asked them to reconsider the decision.
“Union minister Sharad Pawar had opposed the ban in the meeting of ministers. However, the decision to ban exports was taken as the government did not want prices to escalate to the levels witnessed earlier this year. But I have made it clear that we should not take a decision where farmers suffer,” he said.
He added that the state has about 9 lakh metric tonnes of onion in storage, which is likely to prevent a huge price hike. Maharashtra produces 60-70% of the country’s onions. In 2010-2011, the state’s production was 4.9 million tonnes on 410,000 hectares of land.