New Delhi: Food Minister K V Thomas today said onion prices will come down in the next 10 days with the fresh arrival of domestic and imported stock, while asking the traders not to "loot" consumers by charging more.
Onion prices have been ruling at Rs 70-90 per kg in most parts of the country and even touched Rs 100 per kg in some cities like Patna and Jammu.
Stating that there is no need to be "alarmed" about the situation, Thomas said the decision on onion import tender floated by the co-operative Nafed would be taken on October 29 following which shipments would arrive after 3-4 days.
"Onion prices will come down in next 10 days. Traders should take legitimate margin and not loot consumers. Farmers should get reasonable price and consumers should also get onions at affordable rates.
The state governments have been asked to take strong action against hoarders and few states have already taken action, he said, adding that "We need not be alarmed about the situation".
Thomas informed that he has discussed the supply situation with Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Karnataka governments and the onion arrivals are improving.
"Nafed has floated tender (to import onion) and the decision will be taken on Oct 29. After the decision, onion will arrive in 3-4 days," the Minister said.
"Our analysis is that production is as good and even better than last year but the prices have remained higher," he said.
Thomas emphasised on the need to balance the supply situation in the case of onions, potatoes and tomatoes through the help of cold storage facilities.
"In vegetable like onion, tomato and potato, there is period of plenty and there is situation of scarcity. We need to balance with more use of cold storage and warehousing facilities," Thomas said.
Warehousing Development Regulatory Authority (WDRA) has been asked to explore possibility of storing onion grown in the rabi (winter crop) season to avert any such crisis next year.
"Nafed is prepared to procure onions during the plenty and supply to states during lean season. Unfortunately that has not worked. Nafed has very good cold storage facilities," he said.