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Centre to ask states to check onion hoarding at retail level

PTI 30 Jun 2014, 19:17:37 PM IST
New Delhi: The Centre will ask state governments to take action against retailers hoarding onion stocks after it found a huge gap between wholesale and retail prices, a top Consumer Affairs Ministry official said today.  

Unsatisfied with steps taken by the states so far to crack down on hoarders, the ministry will write a fresh letter asking them to take stern action against hoarding at the retail and wholesale levels.

In the national capital, onions are retailing for Rs 25-30 a kg, while the wholesale price is about Rs 18 a kg.  Noting the huge gap between wholesale and retail prices of onions, Consumer Affairs Secretary Keshav Desiraju said:

“There is no reason for price rise because stocks are abundant. There should not be any problem in supply. The wholesale prices are low.”

“We are aware of that onion price increase is happening at the retail level,” he said.

State governments have been asked several times to crack down on hoarding and black-marketing at the retail level and will be asked again, he said.

To check hoarding, Desiraju said three states—

Chattisgarh, West Bengal and Delhi—have sought the central government's permission to impose a stock control order on onion traders.

“This issue is under examination and very soon the order will be issued. However, there is nothing to prevent them from taking action and seeking central government concurrence later. It is acceptable to us,” he said.

According to sources, over 35,000 raids have been conducted against hoarders, mostly in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, and 6,223 people have been arrested since January.  

Onion prices are on rise amid the possibility of a below-normal monsoon even though supplies are sufficient in the wake of last year's good crop.