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Chhattisgarh CM writes to PM Modi over hike in prices of onions


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Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over hike in prices of onions and urged that every year Indian government should make a minimum purchase of approximately 5 lakh tonnes of onion and maintain its buffer stock.
"Due to the sudden and massive price rise of pulses, tomatoes, onions and products of daily use in the open market, the common people of the nation have to suffer everyday, specifically it has become immensely difficult for the poor section of the society to continue their everyday life," the Chief Minister said in his letter.
The Chief Minister mentioned that retail price of onion was Rs 20 per kg in April 2019 which has now increased and reached to Rs 75 per kg at present and mentioned a slew of steps that the state government has taken to keep the prices in check.
"With reference to the Chhattisgarh Essential Commodities Act (Licensing and Hoarding Restriction) 2019, the maximum stock limit decided for onion wholesalers is fixed at 500 quintal and 100 quintal for commission agents," he said.
Stating that Chhattisgarh is an onion-deprived state which requires 30,000 tonnes of onion per month for consumption, the Chief Minister informed that the state receives its lacking stock or inventory of onions from other states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
"Due to increase in demand and wholesale prices of onion in these states also, it has resulted in the price of onion simultaneously increasing since the month of August. Similarly, prices for tomato also fluctuate unexpectedly from time to time," he said.
In the light of these developments, the Chief Minister also made several recommendations and urged that the buffer stock availability of onions under the Indian government can be made available via NAFED in the major centres of the state at discounted prices for the common people.
"To regulate and bring an immediate solution to the difference caused in between the demand and the available stock of onions, the onion inventory or stock requirement should be analysed and estimated in various states and immediate import should be asked from other countries, so that the increase in prices can be controlled," he said.
The Chief Minister said that keeping in mind the annual demand and consumption of onion in the countr, more and more onion production by Indian farmers should be given emphasis and for this, onion producing farmers of our country can be provided with subsidy.
"Due to the unscientific and collective stock management of onions, a large quantity of this essential commodity is wasted every year, which further results in onion deprevation and increase in prices at some point of the year. Therefore, Indian government should focus more on developing scientific and strong foundation stone for proper stock management in onion producing states," he said.
"Every year, Indian government should make a minimum purchase of approximately 5 lakh tonnes of onion and maintain its buffer stock, and under condition of deprivation faced by states especially in monsoon or upcoming seasons, the purchase can be made by states from the national buffer stock. If the government starts maintaining this buffer stock, this will reduce the chances of hoarding and black marketing of onions," he added.
The Chief Minister also requested to provide subsidy to the companies who want to establish a processing unit.

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First Published: Nov 29 2019 | 7:19 PM IST

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