New Delhi: With sky-rocketing onion prices threatening to become a hot political issue ahead of December 4 assembly polls, the Congress government in Delhi has taken a number of initiatives, including directly procuring the bulb from Maharashtra and Rajasthan to stabilise the rate.
Senior officials of Delhi government today reached Lasalgaon wholesale onion market in Nashik to buy the vegetable for distribution in Delhi. The Lasalgaon market is considered India`s largest onion market.
"Food and Civil Supplies Secretary S S Yadav and Vice Chairman of Agriculture Marketing Board Ramesh Tiwari are in Lasalgaon to procure onion," Delhi`s Food and Civil Supplies Minister Haroon Yusuf said.
He said the officials were sent following telephonic conversation between Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and her Maharashtra counterpart Prithviraj Chavan. Dikshit had yesterday requested Chavan to help Delhi procure onions directly from the Lasalgaon market.
Onion is selling between Rs 90 to 100 per kg in most of the retail markets in the city. Yusuf said Delhi government has also decided to procure onion from Alwar in Rajasthan to increase availability of the vegetable in the city so that the rates come down.
"We have also requested the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to make available adequate quantity of onions for Delhi on no-profit no-loss basis," he said.
Aware of possible impact of high onion prices on assembly polls, which are just six weeks away, a worried Dikshit had yesterday met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Food Minister K V Thomas and urged them to take immediate measures to rein in the rates.
In 1998, Congress had come to power in Delhi, defeating the incumbent BJP government, riding on high onion prices.
Dikshit had also sought Election Commission`s permission for sale of the bulb at a reasonable price. "Once we get the permission from the Election Commission, we will sell onions across the city at reasonable rates through 200 trucks," Yusuf said.