BHUBANESWAR: Waking up to the fact that onion and potato traders are fleecing the consumers, the State Government on Monday decided on a set of measures to check the prices.
The Food Supplies and Consumer Department has asked the retail traders of potatoes and onions to keep a profit margin of Rs 2.50 a kg and Rs 3.50 a kg respectively.
The Cooperation Department has been requested to issue necessary instructions to the Regulated Marketing Committees (RMCs) not to charge any fee from vegetable and fruit traders during transportation.
Vehicles transporting vegetables and fruits have to pay tax at RMC checkgates where the committee charges one per cent fee for allowing the traders to conduct business on its premises.
The decision was taken at a meeting convened by Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Secretary Madhusudan Padhi. Secretary, Cooperation Department, Bishnupada Sethi and representatives of Onion and Potato Merchant Associations of the twin city of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack were present.
While the wholesale price of potato at Aiginia mandi is in the range of `1360 to `1400 per quintal, it is sold at `20 per kg in the retail markets of the city.
Onion has become more costly. While it was selling at Rs 24 a kg a couple of days ago, it is now sold at Rs 30 a kg. The wholesale price of onion in the main mandi on Monday was Rs 2400 per quintal.
The Government has directed the retail traders to sell potato at Rs 17 per kg and onion at Rs 28 per kg.
The Food Supplies department has asked the market intelligence staff to keep a close watch on the prices of the two vegetables and crack down on hoarders.
Secretary of Aiginia Potato Merchants Association Shakti Sampad Mishra told this paper that the there is no reason for the hike in the prices of potato as the supply to the State is much better.
However, onion price is bit high because of the increased price level at the source States. The State mostly depends on West Bengal for potatoes and Maharashtra for onions.