MUMBAI: Amid protests in parts of Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Wednesday said the state government will write to the Centre seeking lifting of the ban imposed on export of onions.
Thackeray made the commentin a cabinet meeting after state ministers expressed resentment over the Centre's decision to ban the export of onions, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
According to the statement, the CM said his government will write to the Centre seeking a roll-back of the ban which will affect a large number of onion growers in Maharashtra, a key producer of the commodity.
The statementsaid principal secretary Anup Kumar informed the cabinet that in 2018-19, 21.83 lakh metric tonne of onion was exported from Maharashtra and the outbound shipment was 18.50 lakh metric tonne in 2019-20.
Minister Eknath Shinde said four lakh metric tonne of export-bound onion was stranded at JNPTnear Mumbai, while 500 onion-laden trucks from the state were stuck at borders with Nepal and Bangladesh, it said.
The Centre on Monday banned the export of all varieties of onions with immediate effect, a move aimed at increasing availability and curbing prices of the commodity in the domestic market.
Meanwhile, the Congress, a constituent of the MVA government in Maharashtra, on Wednesday held state-wide protests against the Centre's decision.
"Even as farmers in the state had just started to recover from COVID-19-induced losses, the Modi government has once again dashed their hopes."
"At a time when onion crop was fetching good price in the market, the Modi government suddenly decided to ban its export, causing huge losses to farmers," said state Congress president and revenue minister Balasaheb Thorat.
"There is intense anger among farmers against this decision of the Modi government and the state government stands firmly with them."
"The Congress agitation will continue till the Union government revokes the ban on onion export," Thorat said.
In Nashik district, the onion hub of the state, Congress workers protested against "anti-farmer policies" of the central government by wearing onion garlands around their necks.
Protests were also held in Pune, Ahmednagar Thane and Solapur, among other districts of Maharashtra.
Thorat said the MVA government is extending a helping hand to farmers who have suffered losses due to floods or heavy rains, but the Modi dispensation has not come to their aid.
The earlier decision by the Centre to import milk powder resulted in thousands of tonnes of the food item lying with dairy farmers, resulting in a drop in prices, the Congress leader said.
Now, the just imposed ban on export has led to onion prices crashing by Rs 700-800 per quintal, Thorat said.