Onion: Government's import plans come to halt as bidders turn invalid

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Govt's onion import plans on hold
New Delhi, Oct 29: Government's plans to import onion to rein in its high prices have come a cropper as five of the six bids received were invalid and one eligible supplier quoted high price.

On government's instruction following retail price soaring up to Rs 100 a kg, co-operative major Nafed floated a tender on October 23 to import onion from Pakistan, Iran, China and Egypt. The bids were opened today. "We have received a total of six bids, but only one is valid and it does not suit our requirement," NAFED Managing Director Sanjeev Chopra told PTI.

The valid bid quoted Rs 50 per kg at ex-Delhi price for Chinese onion. "At this rate, we are getting onion in the domestic market and import at this price does not work out to our favour." Five bid were found invalid for various reasons and a detailed report on this is expected tomorrow, he added.

"We cannot take a decision based on one valid bid. As per CVC guidelines, at least 3 tenders should be there," he said. Asked if Nafed will issue another tender in view of poor response, he said: "We will discuss about it once we get the detailed report on the current tender outcome. Looking at the arrival, I don't think we need to import."

Chopra noted that at Mother Dairy outlets in the national capital, onion prices have come down to Rs 62 per kg while wholesale price has dropped to Rs 35 per from 40 per kg.

5 of the 6 bids received were invalid and 1 eligible supplier quoted high price

The local vendors are charging Rs 70-80 per kg in Delhi. Stating that arrivals in producing states are improving, Chopra said: "Supplies are expected to further increase in the coming days and wholesale price in Maharashtra is likely to fall to Rs 20-25 per kg level and retail price in Delhi may decline to below Rs 50 per kg in the fist week of November".

Meanwhile, sources said a Secretary-level meeting is scheduled for tomorrow to discuss price rise in onion.

Secretaries from Commerce, Agriculture and Consumer Affairs ministries will attend the meeting.

PTI

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