Bhubaneswar: In view of the escalating prices of onion in the markets due to dwindling supplies from the neighbouring states, Odisha government Wednesday decided to rope in fair price shops to contain its price rise.
The State Food Supplies Department has instructed Collectors of 30 districts to sell onions at zero profit through the fair price (FP) and Maitree shops to ensure the customers get the kitchen essential at a nominal price and not forced to buy it at exorbitant prices in view of the prevailing shortage of the commodity.
The department also admits that onions are now being sold in the market in the range of `52 to `70 per kilogram. The department claims that reduced supplies from southern states and bad monsoon could be attributed to the rise in price of the bulb.
The department has also apprehended that prices can go up in the coming days. The letter from the department to the Collectors said, “Taking advantage of the situation, traders may resort to high profiteering and sell this essential commodity at an exorbitant price by hoarding and creating artificial scarcity in the market,”
In its direction to the Collectors, the department “requested the officials to take necessary measures to make onion available at all government Fair Price Shops and Maitree outlets by procuring those from local markets and sell them to bona fide consumers at no-profit-no-loss basis till normal situation arises,”
According to the government sources, early variety onion sown in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka has been damaged affecting supplies from the source. Further, arrival of new stocks from Maharashtra where bulk production and harvesting take place are expected to be delayed due to heavy rainfall.
The State Traders Association has welcomed the decision but demanded support from the government.
The association regretted that the government did not involve it in the decision-making process on the issue. It believed the process could help in price stabilisation.