The Centre on Thursday said it has contracted to import an additional 12,660 tonnes of onions and the shipment will reach India from December 27 onwards, a move aimed at improving the domestic supply and check price rise.
With this, the total quantity of imports that have been contracted so far reached approximately 30,000 tonnes, an official statement said.
For the second week in a row, onion prices are ruling above the Rs 100 per kg mark, as government efforts to cool the rates seem to be taking more time than expected.
In a statement, the Consumer Affairs Ministry said it has directed state-owned trading agency MMTC to issue fresh tenders for additional 15,000 tonnes of onions (three new tenders of 5,000 tonne each) on Thursday.
Last month, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan attributed the rise in prices to a 26 per cent decline in domestic production during kharif and late-kharif seasons because of late monsoon followed by excess rains in major producing states such as Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The minister has been maintaining that the government has taken all possible steps to rein in prices such as imposing a ban on exports and allowing imports of 1.2 lakh tonnes to boost supply.
The Centre has also put restrictions on quantities of onions to be stocked by retailers and wholesalers.
On Monday, the Centre further reduced the stock holding limit for onion to 2 tonnes from 5 tonnes for retail traders.
Last week, the ministry had reduced the stock holding limit on wholesalers to 25 tonnes from 50 tonnes.
The ministry had also directed state governments to carry out immediate anti-hoarding operations to ensure the supplies in the markets are augmented and stock holding limits are strictly enforced.