Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday that the state government has demanded that the Centre supply it with more onions as the vegetable’s prices continue to surge, PTI reported. The Aam Aadmi Party-led Delhi government’s demand came after onion prices rose from Rs 55 per kilogram on October 1 to Rs 80 per kg by Thursday.

“We have demanded more onions from the Centre,” Kejriwal told reporters at an event. “A letter has been written to the Centre in this regard. The onion will be distributed in the city as soon as it is delivered to us.”

On Wednesday, the Delhi government had directed officials to resume doorstep delivery of onions. Delhi Food and Civil Supplies Minister Imran Hussain on Wednesday held a meeting with his departmental staff to review the sudden rise in the prices of onions. Hussain also directed government agencies to work in coordination with each other to ensure timely, regular and adequate supply of onions through mobile vans.

Meanwhile, Uttar Pradesh Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari on Thursday ordered officials to take strict action against those hoarding onions. “It is the responsibility of the officials of the departments concerned to make onions available to general public at a reasonable and minimum price and action should be taken against those hoarding them illegally,” an official release said.

Tiwari said onions will be imported from Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and other states. The chief secretary also directed the principal secretary of Horticulture Department to convene a meeting with the officials daily, to provide onions at minimum cost.

The Centre had on Wednesday decided to import onions from countries such Afghanistan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran as domestic prices of the vegetable surged. The government will take the help of its embassies in these countries for the purpose.

Prices have been rising due to supply disruptions, which the government attributed to rain and two cyclones. As imports augment domestic supplies, prices are expected to reduce.

During the meeting, the government also decided to relax fumigation norms for imports. Onion imports are allowed inside India only after fumigation with methyl bromide, a process for which importers pay huge charges at Indian ports. The decision is expected to facilitate the immediate import of 80 containers and the diversion of 100 containers in high seas to India.

Onion prices fall in Maharashtra

Onion prices at wholesale markets across Nashik fell by about Rs 1,000 per quintal by Wednesday, The Indian Express reported. On Monday, the average traded price of onion at Lasalgaon’s wholesale market located in the Niphad district of Nashik was Rs 5,501 per quintal. On Wednesday, it had fallen to about Rs 4,300 per quintal. In the wholesale market of Pimpalgaon, the price fell from Rs 5,611 per quintal to Rs 3,840 per quintal.

However, retail prices moved in the opposite direction. The daily reported that onion prices touched Rs 100 per kg in parts of Delhi. In retail markets in Mumbai, the prices were around Rs 67 per kg. Prices in the Northeast were over Rs 80 per kg, due to a supply-demand mismatch.

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