The Centre on Thursday said onion traders will be given three days’ time for grading and packing of onions from the date of purchasing the commodity from mandis before stock holding limits come into force.
In the wake of spiralling onion prices, the government has imposed stock limits on retail and wholesale onion traders with effect from October 23. Till December-end, retailers are allowed to stock onions only up to 2 tonnes while wholesale traders can keep up to 25 tonnes.
The latest decision to provide give a window of three days comes amid traders’ facing difficulties in offloading onions in the market due to the stock limits. The limits have been imposed to check prices as well as boost domestic supply of onions and prevent possible hoarding of the commodity.
“Keeping in mind the needs of wholesale and retail onion traders, it has been decided that three days’ time for grading/ packing etc from the date of purchase of onion in the mandi will be given before the stock limits are imposed,” Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted on Thursday.
In this regard, a directive has been issued to state governments to ensure compliance, an official statement said. Onion supplies have come under pressure across the country due to likely damage to the standing kharif crop in key growing states of Maharashtra and Karnataka.
As a result, retail prices of onion are ruling over Rs 80 per kilogram in most parts of the country.
The union government has taken several measures to check price rise and improve domestic availability, including banning exports of onion and onion seeds. Onion from the buffer stock is being offloaded to boost domestic supply. Besides, the government is exploring options to import the commodity till fresh crop starts hitting mandis from November.
On account of likely damage from heavy rains, the government expects kharif and late onion kharif output to be lower at 37 lakh tonnes this year, down by 6 lakh tonnes from the previous year.