With onion prices going through the roof and beyond the reach of the common man, the central government has made an urgent intervention on the issue.

Briefing the media, Leena Nandan, secretary in Consumer Affairs Department, said: "As a nation, we are a large consumer of onions. Proactive steps have been taken constantly to augment the production of onions. But from the 2nd week of September, there's been a steady increase in the relatively stable prices"

"We've taken some steps to counter that. This is the first time when we've created a buffer stock of 1 lakh metric tonnes of onions to take care of rising price by the calibrated release of that stock."

Elaborating on the new measures adopted by the government, she said: "We have imposed stock limit of onion effective from today. A notification has been issued. Stock limit for wholesaler is 25 metric tons and for retailers it is 2 metric tons."

"Central government has supplied onions to various states according to their requirements. Till now 35,000 metric tons of onion were given to states to maintain certain stability in prices," she added.

Onion prices continue to soar

Despite the Navratri season, onion prices in the national capital shot up to nearly Rs 90 a kilo in the retail market. According to traders at the Azadpur Mandi, the supply of onions to the wholesale market had reduced by half. They also said that the situation may prevail for few more days.

According to media reports, onion was retailing for Rs 100 per kilo in some markets in Mumbai and Pune. The wholesale and retail prices have increased in the largest wholesale onion market in Nashik, Lasalgaon agriculture produce market committee. Traders claim that heavy rainfall damaged the new kharif onions to a large extent and the new kharif crop is expected to arrive by mid-November. 

Tamil Nadu
Onion prices have been hovering above Rs 100 in Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu since the last few days.  S Chandran, the secretary of Federation of Wholesale Vegetable Market Associations, told the Times of India newspaper that onion prices will spike further as the state government had started selling the commodity at reasonable prices through cooperative stores.

Kerala heaved a sigh of relief after the state received the first load of 25 tonnes of onions procured by Horticorp from the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation in Nashik. In state capital Thiruvananthapuram alone, the prices have crossed Rs 100 per kg. In the first phase, 75 tonnes of onions will be brought to the state by Horticorp and sold to customers through its outlets at a price of Rs 45 per kg. 

Andhra Pradesh
With the retail price of onion shooting up to more than Rs 100 per kg in Andhra Pradesh, the state government started selling the vegetable at Rs 40 per kg through rythu bazaars in a phased manner. The government has also placed an indent with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation for 5,000 tonnes of onion.

The price of onions in Karnataka is expected to shoot up further over the next two days. For now, it hovers around Rs 120. As per traders at AMPC in Bengaluru, during normal season, 100 quintal onion was cultivated per acre. However from the last 15 days the cultivation has been reduced to only 20 quintals. Due to large demand and less supply, the rates have skyrocketed.