Bengaluru, Dec 07, 2019: Onion prices have touched the Rs 200 mark in the state, as the prices of the bulb continued their record-breaking upward march amid a shortage in supply.
Onions at the wholesale markets in Yeshwantpur and Hubballi APMC were being sold at Rs 200 per kilogram on Friday. With prices spiralling out of control, the state government began cracking down on traders resorting to hoarding, with as many as 150 raids conducted across the state till Friday.
A top state government bureaucrat told DH that prices might stabilise by the first week of January.
Giving details of the price surge, C Udayashankar, Secretary of Onion and Potato Traders Association at Yeshwantpur, said wholesale price of quality bulbs touched Rs 180 per kilogram on Friday.
“Considering the taxes and APMC charges, wholesale prices would touch Rs 200 by the time the produce is taken out from the market for retail sale,” Udayashankar told DH.
Saleem Byahatti, President of Hubballi Onion, Potato Traders association, said supply had come down by at least 50 to 60 per cent in Hubballi, enabling prices to inch towards the Rs 200 mark.
The widening gap between supply and demand has also increased. The shortage, which was about 20 to 25 per cent a month ago, has now increased to 50 to 60 per cent.
“Bengaluru, which used to receive more than 1.5 lakh bags (50 kg bag) of onion, is currently being supplied with only 35,000 to 40,000 bags, of which about 10,000 bags will be either damaged or of poor quality,” said Udayshankar.
Chief Secretary TM Vijay Bhaskar confirmed to DH that the government is monitoring the situation and, following the Centre’s direction, has been keeping a tab on illegal hoarders. Souces in the Yeshwantpur APMC revealed that on Friday a team of officials from Lokayukta ‘raided’ the market and checked details of supply and output.
“The officials’ team visited the godowns, shops and personally inspected the scenario. They also spoke to farmers and traders and took data of onion trade for the last three years,” a senior APMC official told DH.
Another top bureaucrat of the state government said as per the “Centre’s order, there has been a cap on hoarding of onions. While a wholesaler can hoard up to 25 metric tonnes, a retailer can hoard only 5 metric tonnes. We have been conducting raids in all the districts for the last 10 days. So far, our officials have raided about 150 places. But nowhere have we come across any illegal hoarding of onions,” he said.
Karnataka is the second-largest producer of onions after Maharashtra. Most of the crop cultivated across North Karnataka region was spoiled due to floods and incessant rains. The state government has placed a request before the Centre to supply 250 metric tonnes of onions from onions being imported from Turkey and Egypt.
“The Centre will be importing about 11,000 tonnes of onion from Turkey and another 6,000 tonnes from Egypt. But this will reach India only after December 15. The prices may stabilise by first week of January,” the officer said.