Government gives 3 days to meet onion stock limit, traders want 15 days

New Delhi: The centrehas issued an advisory to states on Thursday asking them to allow a window of three days to onion traders and wholesalers from date of purchase before imposition of the stock limit. The consumer affairs ministry in its order has stated that for the benefit of onion traders and wholesalers a time period of three days from date of purchase may be given to them for packing and grading of the produce.

“In order to keep a check on rising prices of onions, the government has imposed a stock limit of 25 tonnes for wholesalers and 2 tonnes for retailers. Any violation will attract strict punishment and penalty. The grace of three days will give them some time for disposing the produce before stock limit sets in,” said a senior consumer affairs ministry official.

However, stock limit will not be applicable for imported stock of onions. Onion importers are allowed to keep stock in excess of the prescribed limit.

The onion traders, however, said that the decision is unlikely to benefit onion traders.

“We are demanding time period of atleast 15 days to dispose old stock. Many wholesalers and retailers have stock in excess of the limit prescribed by the government. It’s not easy to dispose these stock immediately. We need time. But government is giving three days time for new stock without mentioning about any relief related to stock we are already holding,” said Rajinder Sharma, president, Azadpur Mandi Association.

The government in the past one month has taken several steps to cool down onion prices, which have been more than doubled in 20 days. In many places, retail prices have to touched Rs 100 a kg mark, a stark reminder to last year’s Diwali when prices have crossed Rs 200 a kg at some places.

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“We have banned export of onions and onion seeds. Apart from that, we have released onions from buffer stock selling them at Rs 26 a kg. We intend to release a total of around 70,000 tonnes by first week of November. Moreover, cheaper imports will further help in cooling down the prices. The imposition of stock limit will immediately increase arrivals in mandis,” the official said.



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