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Onion prices hit tear ducts

Traders said because of the high rate, sale had plummeted by 50 %

By Rokibuz Zaman in Guwahati

  • Published 28.11.19, 2:26 AM
  • Updated 28.11.19, 2:26 AM
A woman arranges onions at a market in Guwahati
A woman arranges onions at a market in Guwahati Telegraph picture

The retail price of onions skyrocketed to about Rs 100 per kg on Wednesday, triggering widespread resentment among consumers.

Traders said because of the high rate, sale had plummeted by 50 per cent. The wholesale rate of onions is Rs 65 to Rs 70 per kg, up from Rs 55 to Rs 60 per kg a few weeks earlier.

This is the first time in Assam that the price of onions has touched Rs 100, primarily because of disruption in supply in the wake of excess rain in major onion-growing states.

In Hatigaon and Zoo Road markets, onions were sold at Rs 100 per kg on Wednesday. At Jalukbari, Six Mile and Ganeshguri, the price was Rs 90 to Rs 100 per kg. A vegetable vendor at Hatigaon said he bought 1kg of onions for Rs 80.

Gauhati University student Tanbeer Choudhury said, “The high prices of onions, Rs 100 per kg, are affecting common people like us.”

Santanu Saikia, a resident of Jalukbari, said, “The BJP had protested before the 2014 general elections against the high price of onions but now we have to buy onions at Rs 100 per kg. The price increased continuously in the past month but the government did nothing to control it.”

A source in the government said steps have been taken to control the price of onions. In November, state food and civil supplies minister Phani Bhusan Choudhury had promised that onions would be available at a maximum rate of Rs 66 a kg in the retail shops.

Binod Jain, a wholesaler of onions in the state, said, “The rising price of onion is due to poor monsoon in Maharashtra and parts of Karnataka, from where a bulk of the vegetable is transported across the country. Transportation from source and storage losses further add to the cost here.”

He said, “The wholesale prices in Guwahati, from where onions are routed to the six other northeastern states, hovered around Rs 65 to Rs 70 per kg on Wednesday. The rate has increased from Rs 5 to Rs 10 per day over the past few days. The retail rates, as on date, should be maximum Rs 80 to Rs 85. Due to the high price, sale is down by 50 per cent. The situation will improve by December 10 when new crops will be available from Nashik in Maharastra.”

Assam needs around 1,875 tonnes of onions a week, of which Guwahati alone needs 700 tonnes, Jain said.

PCC spokesperson Apurba Bhattacharjee said, “The BJP has given fake assurance to the people of Assam. They should keep their promise and control inflation of essentials.”