Army hero plans to carry back onions to Leh

Onion prices have more than doubled from their usual rates in many cities since August. During times of normal supply, consumer prices usually range between 20 and 30 a kg.
Mutup is among the six recipients of Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, who are taking part in the Republic Day parade this year.
Mutup is among the six recipients of Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, who are taking part in the Republic Day parade this year.
Updated on Jan 23, 2020 11:50 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By, New Delhi

When army hero Chhering Mutup flies back to Leh after taking part in the Republic Day celebrations, his baggage will contain an unlikely item — onions. With the vegetable scarcely available in the markets of Leh and selling for a steep 200 per kilo, Naib Subedar Mutup (retd) said picking up onions from Delhi would be cheaper and convenient for him.

Mutup is among the six recipients of Ashok Chakra, the country’s highest peacetime gallantry award, who are taking part in the Republic Day parade this year. Apart from them, the parade will also feature the only three living recipients of the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest wartime honour.

“Onions are selling for 60 a kilo in Delhi. Back home in Leh, they cost more than 200. I plan to take seven or eight kgs of onions with me when I fly back on January 31. I would have taken more but there are weight restrictions,” Mutup said on the sidelines of a Republic Day-related event. His two sons and three grandsons are in the army.

Onion prices have more than doubled from their usual rates in many cities since August. During times of normal supply, consumer prices usually range between 20 and 30 a kg. Heavy rains during August-September in Maharashtra, the biggest onion producing state, as well in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, disrupted onion shipments to northern India and other parts of country.

Unseasonal rains could have damaged nearly 30% of the onion crop this summer, leading to a sharp spike in prices.

The 75-year-old Mutup hoped that onion prices would come down once supplies become steady. “There’s little the government can do about it,” said the soldier, who is from Ladakh Scouts. He was awarded Ashok Chakra in 1985.

Tsering Dorjay, an agriculture development officer at Leh, said onions were hardly available in Leh and were selling at 220 a kilo a few days ago.

Mutup’s citation for the top award said he was required to accomplish an “extremely difficult” task in a forward high-altitude location of Jammu and Kashmir, amid high-velocity winds and a severe snowstorm. It said he accomplished the mission, displaying “the most conspicuous gallantry, cool courage and devotion to duty of an exceptionally high order”.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2022