GUWAHATI, May 12 � After a stable period of one-and-a-half-months, onion rates are on an upward march once again. Having the power to make or break governments, the onion rate hike would this time coincide with the new government formation at the Centre, predict market sources.
�The rates are likely to go up from next week. Rates have increased at the source of production, which would have an impact on the onion prices in the State. Moreover, the onion rates are likely to remain high throughout this year,� said Vinod Jain of the Guwahati Potato Onion Merchants� Association.
�Recently, two rakes of onion arrived from Gujarat. But due to partial damage, the rates fell in the wholesale market. But as soon as the stock from Gujarat exhausts, better quality onions from other sources would be available in the market, though at higher rates,� he added.
The rate of onion in the retail market of Guwahati today stood at Rs 20 per kg. The market is already abuzz with the news of an imminent hike in the onion prices, with traders in some parts of the city already charging Rs 22 per kg.
The traders also blamed the State Government for its inability to increase the production of essential items like onions and potatoes. �When the rates go up, people blame us. But if the State would remain largely dependent on the other States for such essential items, the people, including us, are bound to suffer,� a retailer from the Ganeshguri area said.
Onions are brought to Guwahati mostly by road, from Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar. With people preferring red onions over the white variety, the demand for the Nasik-produced white onions has gone down. The wholesale traders sell nearly 40 tonnes of onion in the city every day.
�We are selling onions at the rate of Rs 14-16 per kg. In Rajasthan and Indore, the bulk prices have been raised and the transportation costs further add up to the rates. Other than damage and shortage of the perishable item, we are paying nearly Rs 550 extra on per quintal of onion brought to Guwahati from both the sources. Patna being nearer, we have to pay Rs 250-300 extra for per quintal of onion,� added a wholesale trader.
Being an importing State, prices of essential items including foodgrains remain high in the State throughout the year. Traders also blamed the Agricultural Marketing Board for its inefficiency. The long- standing demands of cold storages and open mandi system has also been ignored by the State Government.