Amid rise in onion prices, the Delhi government requested the Centre on Thursday to resume supplying the kitchen staple and make it available in Delhi at Rs 15.60 per kg instead of Rs 60 as conveyed to the AAP dispensation.
In a letter to Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Delhi Food and Civil Supplies minister Imran Hussain said a government should not be seen doing business with profit motive over an essential commodity.
Mr Hussain alleged that National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED) has stopped the supply of onions, saying it will be able to make it available to Delhi government after procuring from the markets in Alwar and later from the stock of onions to be imported from Egypt.
On Wednesday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had accused the central government of stopping the supply of onions at a controlled price to Delhi.
Onion price in the national capital has again increased from Rs 40-50 per kg to nearly Rs 100 a kg over the past few days.
Mr Hussain said that the NAFED had been supplying onion to Delhi government at Rs 15.60 per kilogram and the city government was retailing these onion to the residents at Rs 23.90 per kg for providing necessary relief from the price rise.
“Secretary, Department of Consumers, Government of India vide his letter dated November 23, 2019 has also informed that the onion can be made available…five days after the scheduled date of arrival at the estimated cost of Rs 60. This is too high and the people will not be able to afford if onions were supplied at such a high price,” he said in the letter.
Mr Hussain said the Centre’s decision to make onion available at such high price will adversely affect the supply of onions to the citizens of Delhi.
“I would therefore, seek your kind personal intervention in the matter and also request to kindly direct NAFED to continue supplying onions at Rs 15.60 per kg in Delhi as before in larger public interest,” he said in the letter.
“Consumers will be hit hard by the sudden increase in retail prices of onions through government outlets. The government should not be seen as doing business with profit motive over an essential commodity,” Imran Hussain said.
In view of this, there is immediate need to review the matter and activate the Price Stablisation Fund Mechanism under which onion was earlier being supplied to Delhi, he added.