CHANDIGARH: With prices of onion now at Rs 100 to Rs 110 per kg, the supply of the kitchen staple from Afghanistan has surged as approximately fifteen truckloads of the crop are coming every day through the Integrated Check Post (ICP) of Attari border.
Sources said that daily around fifteen truckloads of onions are coming from Afghanistan each carrying about 30 metric tonnes (600 bags of 50 kgs onions) as they come from the wholesale market of Kabul at the ICP of Attari via Pakistan. Most of the onions are imported by the traders sitting in Delhi.
"The onion from Afghanistan are not of that high quality as the onions grown in Maharashtra or Madhya Pradesh but due to shortage of the kitchen staple thus these are being imported as each truck carries about 30 metric tonnes depending upon the quality it costs a trader in India between Rs 35 to Rs 50 per Kg and
one sells it at a little higher rate,'' said a trader who is importing the consignment of onions.
Talking to this correspondent, former Chairman of CII (Amritsar Zone) Rajdeep Uppal said, "For about one month now onion consignments are coming from Afghanistan daily, about fifteen truckloads are coming and in the coming days, we expect more such consignments to come. Thus the prices of this kitchen staple will further drop. The onions there are cheaper than in India. As trade with Afghanistan has been going on for many decades and there is no customs duty, one has to pay for transportation, loading, unloading and other charges."
Also in a bid to deter dealers from hoarding onions and to keep a check on prices both the Haryana and Punjab Governments have imposed stock limits on storing onions for wholesalers 500 quintals and retailers, the stock limit has been fixed at 100 quintals.
A letter was revived by the Haryana Government from Central government on Monday which stated that the stocks of wholesalers and retailers should be checked in all the districts. On Tuesday, the teams of state government raided the onion dealers and checked their stocks.
A senior Punjab Government official said, "In a day or two, we will re-notify the stock storing limit of onions in order to check hoarding of onions."
Meanwhile, Chandigarh Administration has now written to the Union Government requesting that the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) should be asked to ensure adequate supply of onion for the city.
The government has also ordered an immediate import of onions. The first consignment of 6, 090 tonnes from Egypt will be reaching India in the second week of December and another consignment of 11,000 tonnes from Turkey will arrive next month.