New Delhi, Jan 7 (IANS) Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday said that onions are available and states can procure it, at the landing price in Mumbai ranging from Rs 49 to Rs 58 per kg.
Paswan said that imports began from mid-December and states were asked to place their firm demand in order to get the supply from the imported stock. States had initially put a demand for 33,139 MT of onions which was later revised to 14,309 MT due to various reasons including reduction in domestic prices and improved availability.
“A total one lakh million tonnes of onions was the target but since the onion growing season had ended across the world and international prices were high, orders were placed strategically in small lots and over a period of time to ensure international prices don’t increase drastically,” the minister said.
The Union government had planned the imports based on the initial demand and has already contracted almost 40,000 MT of onions which will arrive in India before the end of January. So far, 12,000 MT of onions have arrived in the country and are ready for distribution among the state government.
Paswan further added that the main concern is to protect the interest of consumers and for ensuring that, the domestic supply is being augmented with imports so that prices are moderated and overall availability is increased. He said that there has to be a coordinated effort between the Central and state governments and the consumers to ensure this objective is achieved.
Therefore, he exhorted all state governments to honour the demands they had placed initially and may even go beyond their initial demand and distribute the imported onions in their respective states to ensure that prices are moderated.
Secretary Consumer Affairs Avinash Srivastava said that December onwards, the prices had begun coming down which led the state governments to also reduce their respective demands.