Nashik, Jan 29 (UNI) In a major relief to the state-wide onion growers, the Maharashtra government has forwarded a proposal to the Centre to announce the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 500 per quintal for onion.
An announcement to this effect was made by State Marketing Minister Harshwardhan Patil during his visit to the city here today.
Briefing mediapersons, Mr Patil pointed out that almost every other agriculture produce was given MSP for Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) and in this backdrop, it was time that onion too was included in the bracket.
''We have had several discussions with the Central Government and the proposal of announcing MSP for onion was forwarded very recently.
The MSP is expected to be around Rs 500 per quintal and decision on the same is expected soon,'' he said, adding, it will help the farmers at times when the prices crash.
Focusing on recent onion crisis, the Minister said ''The government is planning to take every possible step to avoid the repetition of the same, and hence it had held talks with the Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Railways Minister Laloo Yadav, who have agreed to consider onion in 'B' category instead of 'D' category, which would mean making available rakes for transport on priority. This will add force to the movement of onion to the far off places.'' Mr Patil also took the opportunity to inform that the state government had decided to provide help to the farmers who suffered during the recent onion crisis.
''The government has in principle decided to provide help to the farmers, but the quantity and the time of payment will be decided by the Group of Ministers soon,'' he said.
The onion farmers have something more to smile. The state government has got the special funds of Rs 15 crore which will be spent on increasing the storage capacity of the onion growers.
''We have received Rs 15 crore as funds from Central government to be spent by March-end and the government has announced subsidy of Rs 1,500 per tonne of onion storage rack for the farmers who wish to set up racks with the capacity from 5 tonne to 1,000 tonne. This will definitely help in stabilising the onion prices in the state,'' the Minister concluded.
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