NEW DELHI: Despite concerns over sky-rocketing onion prices, the central government on Wednesday asserted that it cannot check the same across the country as it was not in its hands. Replying to a question on when will the onion prices would come down, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said, ''It's not in our hands.''
The Union Minister. however, said that the government is taking all steps to contain the onion price rise. Ram Vilas Paswan earlier reviewed the situation of demand, supply and onion prices with top officials of food and consumer affairs departments during which the secretaries of both departments were also present.
Stating that prices fluctuate depending on supply-demand, Paswan said currently, there is a mismatch in this. However, the government is taking measures to improve availability and check prices.
"We are concerned about the situation and the government is trying its best. We have taken maximum steps," he said. The minister also informed that the government has decided to import 1 lakh tonnes of onion to control prices that have shot up to about Rs 80-100 per kg in the retail market.
While state-owned trading firm MMTC will import onions, cooperative Nafed will supply the key kitchen items in the domestic market.
"The government has taken a decision to import one lakh tonnes of onion to control prices," Paswan had said in a tweet earlier.
The MMTC has been asked to import onions and make it available for distribution in the domestic market, between November 15 and December 15 period, he added.
NAFED has been directed to supply imported onions across the country, the minister said.
Highlighting measures, Paswan said that the government has banned the export of raw and processed onions, imposed stock holding limits on traders besides offloading buffer stock at a cheaper rate of Rs 24.90/kg to provide relief to consumers.
Onion prices have risen sharply for more than a month due to tight supply. The retail prices have increased up to Rs 80-100 per kg in the national capital and ruling in the range of Rs 80-100 per kg in other parts of the country, as per the trade data.