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Concerned over onion price rise, the government on Friday said 2,400 tonnes of onions have been imported by private traders from Egypt to boost supply and indicated facilitating more imports if rates go up unreasonably high. The consumer affairs ministry is closely monitoring onion prices, which are ruling high in the range of Rs 40-50 per kg in most retail markets depending on the quality. "Imports are happening from Egypt. Private traders have already placed an order for 2,400 tonnes. The containers are landing at the Mumbai port," a senior ministry official told PTI after the review meeting with traders. Another shipment of 9,000 tonnes of onion is expected to arrive soon.
Private traders have been asked to be prepared for more imports from neighbouring countries if prices rise unreasonably high, he said.The import related issue was discussed at a review meeting chaired by Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K Srivastava. Senior officials from commerce and agriculture ministries and private traders were present. According to the official, the fumigation hurdles being faced by importers were sorted out at the meet to facilitate the easy arrival of shipments. The government will facilitate shipments via private trade at present. "No decision has been taken yet to rope in public trading agencies for onion imports," he said. The official also mentioned that the price rise in onion was mainly due to "speculation" as the fundamentals do not support such spike in rates. The new Kharif crop is seen better than last year's turnout. States have been asked to impose a stock limit on onion traders to curb speculation and a proposal to restrict export is also under consideration, he said. The country had last imported onion in 2015 on both public and private account.