New Delhi: With prices of onion shooting up every day and BJP attacking her for "inaction" to improve supply of the vegetable, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit today issued instructions for taking all possible steps to bring down retail rates of the kitchen staple.
The Chief Minister spoke to Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and requested him to take steps to stabilise the prices of onion which is retailing at Rs 75-80 in most markets in the city.
Officials in Delhi government said Union Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth held a meeting and discussed ways to stabilise prices of the vegetable in Delhi.
They said Dikshit directed Chief Secretary D M Spolia to take "immediate short-term measures" to stabilise onion prices in the national capital. He has been instructed to suggest long-term measures to prevent seasonal fluctuation in onion prices.
Dikshit had written a letter to Pawar yesterday, seeking curtailment of export of onion so that prices of the vegetable could be brought down.
Sensing an opportunity to use rising onion prices to its advantage ahead of Delhi assembly elections, BJP unit here today held a demonstration outside Dikshit`s residence, accusing her of failing to control spiralling prices.
In 1989, the then BJP government was voted out of power and high onion prices was attributed as one of the main reasons for the party`s defeat. Assembly elections in Delhi will be held in November.
Last week, Delhi government had started selling the vegetable at "reasonable" rates at 350 outlets including 280 Mother Dairy outlets. These outlets are selling the vegetable at Rs 52 per kg.
Officials said the Chief Secretary also chaired a meeting to arrest the rising trend in onion prices. The meeting was attended by senior officials of Food and Civil Supplies department and Delhi Agriculture Marketing Board (DAMB).
The meeting decided to sell onions at "reasonable" rates through 150 mobile vans across the city from August 17.
Officials said government expected that arrival of onions from Alwar in Rajasthan would start in a couple of days, which would ease the prices.