Dikshit seeks Centre's help to tackle onion prices
By Express News Service | Published: 25th October 2013 09:08 AM |
Facing criticism from the Opposition over skyrocketing onion prices five weeks ahead of the Delhi Assembly polls, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday asked the Centre to take immediate measure to rein in the rates and sought the Election Commission’s permission for the sale of onion bulbs at a reasonable price.
Dikshit met Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Food Minister K V Thomas and requested them to improve the supply of onions to the capital. “The situation is very serious. We are trying to stabilise the prices,” she said.
The chief minister specifically requested Pawar to direct the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) to make available adequate quantity of onions for Delhi on a no-profit, no-loss basis so that its price, which is hovering around `100 a kg in retail market, comes down.
Co-operative major NAFED on Thursday floated a tender for the import of bulbs from Pakistan, Iran, China and Egypt. In 1998, the Congress had come to power in Delhi defeating the incumbent BJP government riding on high onion prices.
“We are also exploring the possibility of procuring onions at a wholesale rate from major onion producing states preferably from the cities of Nasik and Pune to improve the supply,” Dikshit said.
Dikshit said the government has approached the Election Commission requesting it to allow sale of onion at reasonable price across the city. The model code of conduct restricts the government from going ahead with the initiative.
“The situation is serious. That is why we have requested the Election Commission to allow us to sell onion at reasonable prices so that people can be insulated,” she said, adding 8,000 quintals of onions have arrived in the city which could help ease prices. She said a team of officials has been sent to Maharashtra to negotiate price and buy onions.
Meanwhile, the Delhi chief minister refused to answer a question whether she would accept Aam Aadmi Party founder Arvind Kejriwal’s offer for an open debate.