Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jun 3:
Onions are literally bringing tears to Odisha households as the prices of this kitchen essential have shot up manifold within the past week owing to a demand-supply gap.
While onion sold for Rs 16 a kilogram a week back and the supply was abundant, now it’s scarce even at Rs 30 a kilogram.
This price rise coincides with a reduced supply from local market such as Kantabanjhi, that has almost come to a dead halt.
Earlier, the essential ingredient in the Odia cuisine was being sourced mainly from Kantabanjhi area of Bolangir with a few extra truckloads also brought in from Nagpur and Nasik in Maharashtra.
As per wholesalers of Kuberpuri Merchant’s Association, the buying price of onion stands at Rs 18 a kilo in Nagpur and the transportation charges add another Rs 4 per kilo. The wholesale price at the Aiginia commodity market on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar has been fixed at Rs 24, after adding the other expenses, loss due to rot and merchant’s profit.
The price eventually goes up to Rs 30 a kilogram by the time it reaches the consumer via another two to three stages. It is also alleged that the retailers are selling onion at high prices on the plea that the vegetable is perishing due to intense heat in the state. They are incurring huge losses due to this which is having its impact on the market.
The traders of Aiginia commodity market are, however, hopeful of a price correction soon.
“As it stands, the supply from Kantabanjhi has dried up. Very few traders go to Nasik to procure onions. Almost every merchant is running to Nagpur market. Without competition, the prices continue to remain high. The prices would go down, when the merchants start procuring from Nasik market in the next few days,” said one of the traders at Aiginia commodity market.
Hoarding, black marketing and inefficiency of Odisha Government are pushing onion prices even higher. The price may even cross Rs 40 if the government doesn’t intervene while there is time.
“At a time when the demand is high and the traders are not able to meet the requirements, the price of the kitchen essential is going to soar high. The traders are going to take advantage of it and exploit the consumers. So the government needs to put an eye on the wholesalers and the retailers against hoarding and black-marketing,” a city denizen said.