NCP chief Sharad Pawar on Wednesday blamed the central government's policies for rising onion prices and said that he would discuss with the Centre about the issue of stock limit being imposed on onion traders.
Speaking to onion growers and traders in Maharashtra's Nashik district, Pawar said a comprehensive policy is needed to look into the onion export ban and stock limit, adding that the policy should cover the interests of all stakeholders.
Onion is currently being sold at Rs 80 to Rs 100 per kg at retail markets in Mumbai.
To contain onion prices, last week, the Centre imposed stock holding limit on retail and wholesale traders till December 31 to improve the domestic availability of the key kitchen staple and provide relief to consumers. Retailers can stock up onions up to 2 tonnes, whereas wholesale traders are allowed to keep up to 25 tonnes of onion stock, the Centre said.
To register their protest against the Centre's move, traders boycotted onion auctions for the last two days in all 15 Agriculture Produce Market Committees in Nashik, including at Lasalgaon APMC, Asia's biggest onion market.
Pawar on Wednesday urged traders to reopen the markets for auction and said the governmnet’s move to ban export while promoting imports was contradictory and urged that the stock limit condition should also be removed.
He further attacked the Centre for excluding onions from the list of essential commodities. Talking about raids against onion traders, Pawar said the state government was not responsible for the move. "The state government is not responsible for action against traders. The decision on import and export of onion takes place at the central government-level," said Pawar, whose party is an alliance partner in the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maharashtra government.
Maharashtra is one of the top producers of onion and Nashik is a major hub of the commodity.