Subsidised onion sale to end from tomorrow with fall in prices

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) With a sharp fall in onion pricesin the retail market to Rs 30 per kg, the government todaydecided to end the subsidised sale of the kitchen staple fromtomorrow in the national capital, but it would continue tomonitor the situation to prevent the recurrence of the crisis.

A high-level meeting, which was convened by AgricultureMinister Sharad Pawar, also decided to discontinue the 30 percent subsidy that the Centre was offering to farm cooperativesfor subsidised onion sale from tomorrow, official sourcessaid.

Food minister K V Thomas, Delhi Chief Minister SheilaDikshit and senior officials of Agriculture, Food and ConsumerAffairs ministry participated in the meeting.

"Since onion prices have started coming down in Delhi andother cities, it was thought that the subsidised sale of thevegetable was not needed from tomorrow," a source said.

Onion prices have declined to Rs 30 per kg from a peak ofRs 70-85 per kg as on December 20-21.

"We reviewed the market scenario of onions and othervegetables. The meeting expressed pleasure over easing ofprices of onions in the national capital," Dikshit toldreporters here.

The state government would discuss steps to keep a tabover the situation and take measures to avoid recurrence ofsuch situation in future, she added.

In order to provide relief to the consumers, the Centrehad decided to sell onions at cheaper rates in Delhi throughoutlets of Mother Dairy, Nafed, National Consumer Co-operativeFederation (NCCF) and Kendriya Bhandar.

It also launched a scheme, under which 30 per centsubsidy was being provided to these agencies to cover thelosses, if any.

The subsidy scheme is valid till today and the high-levelmeeting decided not to extend the scheme further, sourcesadded.

The meeting also pondered over possibility of creatingfruits and vegetables hubs around prominent cities to feed theurban population and also to avert crisis situation like thepresent one, sources said.

It was emphasised that there is a need for creatingadditional storage capacity in the cities for reinforcingsupply of farm produce in the time of crunch, they added.

Meanwhile, prominent agri-cooperative Nafed today cut theprices of onions to Rs 20/kg on its last day of subsidisedsale.

The subsidised sale will end from tomorrow, although ifthere is any left out stock in Nafed godowns, the same wouldbe cleared in the next 1-2 days at Rs 20 per kg, NafedManaging Director Sanjeev Chopra told PTI.

Wholesale price of onions have come down to Rs 5-17 perkg in Azadpur wholesale market in Delhi today.

The wholesale price of the commodity was recorded at Rs17/kg in main producing region Lasalgaon in Nashik district ofMaharashtra and Rs 15/kg in Pimpalgaon in the same district.

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