Despite the government relaxing import norms till December 15 to facilitate the early shipment of onion to boost the domestic supply, prices of the key vegetable have been skyrocketing across the country. In Kerala, onion was selling as high as Rs 100 per kg.
The exorbitant rate of the onion amid the ongoing festival season has affected the kitchen budget of households. Even restaurateurs are complaining about it.
"It will become very difficult for housewives. Even the restaurant owners are not happy with such high prices," news agency ANI quoted a vegetable buyer at Thiruvananthapuram's Connemara market, as saying.
'Onion politics' in Tamil Nadu
Meanwhile, The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday launched sale of onions through its farm fresh outlets at a subsidised cost of Rs 45 a kilo in the wake of spiralling price. However, the opposition DMK alleged that hoarding was behind the price rise and asked the AIADMK government to not implement the Centre's three farm laws in Tamil Nadu.
Govt's action to control spiralling price
The government on Wednesday had announced that it will offload more onion from its buffer stock in the open market to contain price rise.
According to the Union Consumer Affairs Ministry, a sharp spike in onion prices has been noticed in the past 10 days.
The retail price of onion has shown a marked increase from August-end 2020, though the price level was below that of last year till October 18, it said.
To facilitate import of onion, the ministry said, "the government has on October 21 relaxed the conditions for fumigation and additional declaration on Phytosanitary Certificate (PSC) under the Plant Quarantine Order (PQ), 2003 for import up to December 15, 2020".
The Indian High Commissions have been instructed in the relevant countries to contact the traders to push for greater onion imports to the country.
While the rate at which retail prices increased had been "moderated to some extent", recent incidents of heavy rainfall in onion growing districts of Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Madhya Pradesh had "caused damage to standing Kharif crop, stored onion and seed nurseries," the ministry said.
(With PTI inputs)