Centre asks Delhi govt to open stores to sell cheaper onions

New Delhi :With onion retail prices touching Rs 50 per kg in the national capital, the Centre today asked the Delhi government to open makeshift retail outlets near ration shops for selling the key kitchen item at lower rates.

It also directed cooperative NAFED to expedite onion imports to boost domestic supply and curb rising prices.

The central agency Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) and co-operative Nafed have together procured 7,000-8,000 tonnes of onions from Nasik, Maharashtra using the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF).

On its part, Delhi government has procured 2,000 tonnes of onions and the stocks have been stored with SFAC.

These decisions were taken at a meeting called by Union Consumer Affairs Secretary C Vishwanath here today to assess the availability and prices of onions and pulses. Delhi government officials were also present in the meeting.

Retail prices of onions in Delhi have touched Rs 50-55 per kg and rates may rise further in the coming days.

“We took stock of the price situation of essential commodities especially onion and pulses with representatives of SFAC, cooperative Nafed, trading agency MMTC, and the Delhi government,” Vishwanath told PTI after the meeting.

In the meeting, SFAC was asked to increase onions supply in the Delhi retail markets from tomorrow.

“To increase supply in national market, the Delhi government—which also has procured about 2,000 tonnes of onion and stored it with SFAC—has been requested to open retail points at Fair Price Shop locations to facilitate sale of onions for the benefit of common man,” the official said.

SFAC is already selling onions 100 tonnes of onions per day in the national capital through retail outlets of Mother Dairy’s Safal, Delhi Milk Scheme and Big Bazaar.

That apart, Nafed has been asked to expedite the import of 10,000 tonnes of onion and offload them in the domestic market at the earliest.

According to sources, the Delhi government informed in the meeting that it would take a decision next week on the issue of onion subsidy as well as opening of retail points to increase the supply in the national capital.