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Weather, I-Day curbs add to onion shortage

The Capital, already struggling with high onion prices, received no supply of the kitchen staple on Independence Day.

delhi Updated: Aug 18, 2013 01:33 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times

The Capital, already struggling with high onion prices, received no supply of the kitchen staple on Independence Day.

According to Delhi government officials, the Capital failed to receive its daily supply of essential kitchen commodities on account on traffic restrictions — especially on account of Independence Day.

Bad weather and poor road conditions also added to the woes, with the city now staring at an overall shortage of 1,800 tonnes of onions. The fall in supply has come at a time when the daily average consumption of the city has been pegged around 1,000 tonnes.

“In the past one week the supply has been erratic. On some days we were getting only about 438 tonnes, but the situation turned alarming when there was no supply on Independence Day. We are hoping that the situation will improve in the coming few days,” said a Delhi government official.

The Delhi government, which has been drawing flak from all quarters due to the rising price of onions, is keeping a close watch on the situation.

With Assembly elections round the corner, the Opposition BJP has already started making price rice a political issue.

Three elections ago, the BJP’s defeat in the Assembly elections was attributed to skyrocketing onion prices.

On an average, the city has received around 6,070 tonnes of onion in the past eight days as against the required 8,000 tonnes. Sources said that taking advantage of the gap between demand and supply retailers have been selling onions at anything between Rs 70 and Rs 80.

Delhi government officials said that there was little that they could do to salvage the situation, as Delhi — which does not produce the vegetable —was solely dependent on states such as Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, for its supply.

“Due to heavy rains, floods and damaged roads, the arrival of stocks in Delhi has been substantially affected. The supply has started improving and in September new crops would also come. We are monitoring the situation closely,” said Haroon Yusuf, food and supplies minister of Delhi government.

The rising prices of onions had prompted the chief minister to convene a high-level meeting on Friday to discuss adequate steps that can be taken.

“The chief minister said action should be initiated against those who have been stocking onions,” said a senior Delhi government official. On Saturday, the government also started selling onions at Rs 50 a kilo at 1,000 points across the city.

Govt selling rotten onions, claims BJP

The BJP on Saturday accused the Delhi government of supplying poor quality onions through its 1,000-odd outlets.

“The Congress government’s decision to sell onions at government controlled outlets is a façade behind which the government is trying to hide its anti-people policies. It has been reported that onions being sold there are of poor quality and not fit for consumption. At several places rotting onions were also being sold,” said a BJP spokesperson.

He also attacked the government for failing to control the rising prices of kitchen staples and said that it has gone beyond the means of an average household in Delhi due to mismanagement of the wholesale markets by the government.

“We don’t approve this sale of rotten onions. This attempt by the government to gain cheap popularity has exposed the nexus between hoarders and the power managers of the Congress party,” the spokesperson.

(HT Correspondent)

First Published: Aug 17, 2013 23:49 IST