Onion prices soared to around Rs 100 in Patna and Bhopal on Tuesday, reaching highest points in a nascent year that has seen an unreasonable spiraling of onion prices across India.
The Indian Express correspondents in Patna and Bhopal confirmed that prices in the respective cities had at some point during the day reached Rs 100 per kg.
Onion is selling at prices between Rs 60 and 80 in Mumbai, Kolkata and Varanasi.
In Delhi, prices reached a year-high of Rs 90. The government said in a statement traders have purchased standing crops from farmers and they are deciding the price at which it is being sold in retail.
The domestic availability of onion has been affected on account of damage to kharif crop because of unseasonal rains in key producing states including Maharashtra.
After the raise in Minimum Export Price (MEP) of onion failed to cut back prices, the government hinted on Tuesday that exports may be banned altogether to tackle the rise.
"Onion prices have gone up sharply. We are considering banning exports as there is not much scope to raise MEP," a senior government official said.
The Centre also said the price spike in onions is due to artificial scarcity and asked the state governments to take firm action against hoarders. "We have enough onion stock in the country.
“The state governments must act firmly against hoarders who are hoarding onions which has led to the artificial scarcity and sharp escalation of prices," Commerce Minister Anand Sharma told reporters. Onion prices are expected to stabilise with arrival of kharif crop in the coming days and late kharif crop in December, he said.
Inflation is a matter of "serious concern," Sharma said, adding that it has risen driven up by vegetables like onion and food items. "We hope it is temporary, seasonal and will settle down".
National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation said in a statement production this year is expected to be 10-15% higher than last year and in the next fortnight prices will crash as fresh onion arrival increases significantly. "Hoarders will lose heavily.
Asked if the government is considering revising the MEP of onion, Sharma said: "This time due to the situation, we have fixed MEP on onion... When the situation will improve, we will revisit our decision."
Currently, onion supplies are less than 50 per cent of the country's monthly estimated total demand of 9-10 lakh tonnes. The