Centre 'worried' as many states not keen to take imported onions

The Centre is 'worried' about disposing of imported onions as not many states are interested to take it despite the key kitchen stable is being offered to them at an average landed cost of Rs 55 per kg and bearing the transportation cost, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said.

Retail onion prices, which were ruling over Rs 100 per kg in most cities since the past two months, have started softening now on arrival of imported onions and new kharif crop.

However, prices have still not fallen to the normal levels.

"So far, we have contracted 36,000 tonnes of onion. Of which, 18,500 tonnes of shipment has reached India, and states have been able to take only 2,000 tonne after much persuasion. We are worried about its disposal because it is a perishable commodity," Paswan told.

The minister further said the Centre is offering imported onions at an average landed cost of Rs 55 per kg and also bearing the entire transportation cost.

Despite all, the state governments are not coming forward to buy and retail it.

Asked why prices are still high despite imports, Paswan said, "The imports are being done to improve the domestic supply and check prices. If state governments are not ready to take the imported onions, what can we do?"

So far, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal governments have taken the imported onions. Many states have withdrawn their demand, he added.

Sources said the taste of imported onions is different from the homegrown ones and consumers are not buying it in the retail markets when domestic onion is available at the same rate.