GUWAHATI, Aug 4 - The steep surge in onion prices is likely to hit the common man yet again due to a hike in the wholesale rates of the kitchen essential in the onion-producing States like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh.
Owing to the countrywide phenomenon, market sources predict that the rates might go up further unless fresh supplies from the southern States arrive to ease the situation, which is less again likely due to the inclement weather conditions.
Onion rates have gone up from Rs 20 per kg in mid-July to Rs 30 per kg now. Those having a craving for the red pungent onions might end up paying up to Rs 35 as this variety sells at a greater price than its white counterpart.
As per a report sent to the Commissioner and Secretary of the Food, Civil Supplies and Consumers Affairs Department from the Kamrup district administration, the wholesale rate of the bulb has suddenly gone up from Rs 800-Rs 1550 per quintal (depending on quality) on July 15 to Rs 1,750-Rs 2,600 per quintal in the first week of August.
The Guwahati Potato-Onion Traders� Association, a body of wholesale potato-onion traders, said that at Nasik, the largest supplier of onions around this season, the wholesale rates have gone up to Rs 2,300 per quintal.
�Traders are buying good quality Patna onions at the bulk rate of Rs 2,400 per quintal, Rajasthan (Ajmer) onions at Rs 2,200 per quintal and Indore onions at the rate of Rs 2,100-2,200 per quintal. Throughout the country, the rates have gone up and in the North East the retail consumption of red onion is more, so the buyers feel the pinch harder,� secretary of the merchants� association Binod Surana told The Assam Tribune.
�The prices generally go up at this time of the year and the arrival of fresh crops from southern States like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh provides some relief to the buyers. However, this year the Southern States have produced only 30 per cent of the expected output due to the bad weather conditions,� he added.
The market sources further stated that the situation was likely to continue till the end of September.
However, any scarcity of the item is unlikely in Guwahati and Assam in general, assured Kamrup Metro Deputy Commissioner Dr M Angamuthu. The district administration officials held a meeting with the wholesale onion traders of Guwahati. Rakes of onions are being brought from the source to Guwahati that will cater to the requirements of the entire North East. Some consignments are coming via roadways.
With the fresh arrival of 16,000 quintals and another rake of onions in the pipeline, the market has the stocks to meet the average daily consumption of 600 quintals in Guwahati and that of the entire North East, which stands at 2,280 quintals.
�We will take steps to ensure a price margin in the retail market so that exorbitant rates are not charged by traders,� the Kamrup DC added.