GUWAHATI, Aug 2 - Onion lovers in Assam are used to this price fluctuation now, with the bulb�s rate swinging up every three-four months. What sets the alarm bells ringing is the rate of onion reaching Rs 50 per kg without a hint of reduction in the rates in near future.
Whereas the speculations are rife about the black-marketing of this essential kitchen staple, the perishable nature of the commodity makes it difficult to hoard for a longer time, despite the predictions of price hike in summers.
Allegations and counter allegations from different stakeholders apart, the big difference between the wholesale rate and retail rates remains a stark reality in Assam, in case of onions, or any other commodity where MRP is not printed.
According to sources in the Fancy Bazar wholesale market, onion rates have gone up at the source i.e. Nasik, the bulk supplier of onions. The commodity is also coming to Assam from Rajasthan, Patna and Indore.
�In Nasik, the onion rates are Rs 29-30 per kg and in Patna bulk market onion is being sold at the rate of Rs 28-30 per kg. Bad crop has escalated the prices at the source and here in Guwahati the bulk rate of Rs 32-35 per kg, is very close to the source rate. Moreover, since the demand dips in the month of Savan, we have adequate stock in the market,� said a wholesale trader.
�From Rs 20 per kg, the rates have gone up to Rs 45-50 per kg. This cannot be without unscrupulous trade practices. In cities like Delhi and Kolkata, onion rate reaching Rs 35 creates an uproar. On the other hand, the administration in Assam is blissfully ignorant about the entire situation,� Ashok De, a retired government employee said.
�To make things worse, the State does not have a mechanism to ascertain the difference between the source price and wholesale price in Guwahati or for that matter the wholesale and retail rates here,� added another consumer.
However, if the market predictions are to be believed the rate would go down slightly after August 15, with new crop from South India coming to the market. �Lack of rainfall has affected the crop in South India as well, so a total rate reduction could not be expected. However, once the Bengaluru onions comes to the market, the consumers would surely get some relief,� he added.
The consumers, on the other hand, find it difficult to buy the arguments of the traders� community.
�Due to a lack of self sufficiency, we end up paying twice more for every commodity brought from other parts of the country. The situation is more deplorable in Assam in comparison to several other North-eastern States,� said Mina Bora, a resident of Ulubari.