Delhi govt blames BJP-ruled MP for onion woes

The Delhi government on Wednesday alleged that hoarding of the kitchen staple in Madhya Pradesh has resulted in escalation of its rates in the city.

Updated: Sep 18, 2013, 19:13 PM IST

New Delhi: As BJP attempts to use rocketing onion prices to its advantage in ensuing Assembly polls, the Delhi government on Wednesday alleged that hoarding of the kitchen staple in Madhya Pradesh, ruled by the saffron party, has resulted in escalation of its rates in the city.

Delhi`s Food and Supplies Minister Harun Yusuf, slamming BJP for politicising the issue, accused the Madhya Pradesh government of not taking action against hoarders in the state "with a purpose". The minister even went on to say that going by the price of onion under BJP rule in Delhi 15 years ago, it should have "risen to Rs 700 per kg" now.

Delhi gets supply of onion from a number of states including Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Prices of onion have again gone up to Rs 80 per kg in the retail market in the city after stabilising to around Rs 55 earlier this month.

"We get supply of onion from Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and a number of states. The supply of onion to Delhi has been affected also due to large scale hoarding in Madhya Pradesh. I think they are doing it with a purpose," Yusuf said.

He said Delhi government has again started selling the vegetable at Rs 60 per kg at 1,000 points across the city through mobile vans.

"The BJP is politicising the issue which is very unfortunate. During BJP rule in 1998, the onion was selling at Rs 80 per kg. If you calculate the inflation and other parameters, the rate should have touched Rs 700 if you compare it with the rate 15 years ago," Yusuf said.

The BJP was voted out of power in 1998 in Delhi following spiralling onion prices. The Assembly polls in Delhi are slated for November.

Asked about alleged widespread hoarding of onion in Delhi, Yusuf denied the reports, saying government has been keeping a strict vigil and no trader has been able to hoard the vegetable.

The Centre has already directed all state governments to crackdown on hoarders and speculators who are keeping onion prices artificially high.

To mitigate the effect of soaring onion prices, the Delhi government on August 17 had started selling onions at reasonable rates through 50 mobile vans across the city but discontinued it when the prices came down.

"I appeal to the Madhya Pradesh Government to come down hard on hoarders. The BJP should not take help of onion prices to win election in Delhi," said Yusuf.

Yusuf said rains in a number of onion producing states and festivities in Maharashtra have also affected supply of onions to the city.

"The prices will come down significantly in the next 5-10 days. We are doing everything possible to stabilise the rates," said Development Minister Raj Kumar Chouhan, who looks after functioning of the wholesale vegetable markets.

He said arrival of onion in Delhi used to be around 2,000 to 2,500 tonnes per day but the city has received a total of 1,500 tonnes in the last two days.