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Keep profits low, Odisha govt tells potato, onion traders


Reported by Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar, June 30:

With onion and potato doing the vanishing act from the kitchen despite several measures initiated to tackle the increase in their prices, the Odisha government today asked traders to keep the difference between the wholesale and retail prices within reasonable limits.

potato saleFood Supply and Consumer Welfare secretary Madhusudan Padhi today informed that onion and potato traders have been asked not to keep the profit margins unreasonably high since it was  pinching a whole in the pocket of the consumer.

“We have asked onion and potato traders not to keep profit margin unreasonably high.They have been told to keep the margin between wholesale and retail prices of onion and potato at Rs 3.50 per kg and Rs 2.50 per kg respectively,” Padhi told media persons here.

Padhi also informed that there is enough stock of the staple food in the state.

Cooperation Secretary Bishnupada Sethy agreed to issue notification regarding withdrawing the fees being collected by RMC from vegetable and fruit to contain the price rise.

RMC is collecting one per cent fee from vegetables and fruits from its gates, though the collection of fees is considered not within their jurisdiction and there were allegations of harassment of traders.

Notably, the price of onion has increased by 11.22 percent since last month price and as much as 87.15 percent over the prices at corresponding period last year. Similarly, potato prices have increased by 59.09 percent and 18.57 percent in the last month and last year respectively. While the present price of onion is around Rs 30 per kg inthe  retail market in Bhubaneswar, the potato price is Rs 20 per kg here.

The large difference between wholesale and retail prices of onions in markets has taken the government by surprise despite several steps announced by it, including an advisory to the concerned officials to crack down on hoarding and speculation.

However, the government has turned a blind eye to the increase in the price of other vegetables in the state. Besides potato and onion, the prices of other vegetables have also gone up manifold over the last one week in the retail markets.

With monsoon rains expected to be lower than normas, the government is monitoring the prices of 22 essential commodities with onions, potatoes, coming under special focus.