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Onions make Kolkatans cry during festive season.

Date: 11-10-2021
Subject: Onions make Kolkatans cry during festive season
Kolkata: The spectre of a spiralling onion  price of 2019 has returned since Friday to haunt both the traders and consumers. The price has suddenly risen to Rs 55 a kg from Rs 30 a kg even a week ago. Traders said that there was a yawning demand-supply gap with supply from Nashik (Maharashtra) and Bellary (Karnataka) steadily going down. In 2019, onion price touched the record mark of Rs 150 a kg, forcing the Bengal government to offer subsidy and ration onion through its network of fair price shops. 

However, the wholesalers assured that the onion price would stabilise after Puja. “The truck movement from Nashik and Bellary suffered a setback because of inundation of roadway at the entry points of Bengal. Even after the water receded, the roads turned into dirt tracks, posing problems to inter-state truck movement. Moreover, in Bangladesh, onion prices have touched a sky-high. As a result, bulk of onions were sent across the border to fetch higher prices,” said Kamal Dey, president, West Bengal Farmers’ and Vendors’ Association. 

However, the price pinch is likely to be neutralised with supply being stabilised and Centre shortly announcing a ban on onion export. “Nashik and Bellary have seen bumper onion crops. In fact, Bengal, too, had good crops this year. It is only a matter of time for onions to get cheaper,” said Chandan Chakraborty, working president of Posta Bazaar Onion Merchants Association. 

The rise of onion prices just before the festive period has created a strong resentment. “The kitchen budget is on fire. The cooking gas is nearing Rs 1,000, mustard oil has crossed Rs 200 a litre, tomato and eggplant is more than Rs 80 a kg. Now, onion is making us cry,” said Riddhi Ghosh of Parnashree. 

“For the past one week, the wholesale price of onions has been increasing gradually. But in the last two days it rose sharply. Onion now costs us Rs 46 a kg. After sorting and discarding the rotten and damaged ones, it is impossible to sell below Rs 55-60 a kg,” said Bhola Saha, an onion vendor at Lake Market. 


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