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Fair price shops to sell onions in city at Rs 59/kg from today

Kolkata: Fair price shops across the city will sell onions from Monday to make the vegetable available to the common people at a reasonable price. The decision came after state food department officials, state agricultural market officials and fair price shop owners conducted an emergency meeting on the skyrocketing onion prices at Khadya Bhawan on Sunday.

The price of onions has shot up throughout the country due to a shortage of supply from Nasik. In Tamil Nadu and Madurai onion was sold for over Rs 200 per kg, while in Kolkata, the price touched Rs 150.

"Onions will be available at all the 935 fair price shops at Rs 59 per kg per family from Monday in Kolkata," said Pradip Majumdar, advisor, agriculture and allied sectors, in the Chief Minister's office.

He reiterated that on September 30, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had instructed the state government's supply chain and sales point known as Sufal Bangla to market onions at a maximum of Rs 59 per kg.

"This has been well received by general public and since the last few days, she (Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee) has been insisting on extending this facility across the state," pointed out an official of the food department.

The state government will not only subsidise the price of onion but also bear the cost of transportation, distribution and losses in transit.

"We are starting with the marginal ration (MR) shops or fair price shops in Kolkata tomorrow. But we are also seeking the help of self-help groups. We want to engage about 100 self-help groups to market this important commodity at Rs 59 per kg across the state, so that benefit reaches as many residents as possible. If the effort through MR shops in Kolkata succeeds and runs smoothly, we will try to extend it across the state soon," added a senior official of the food department.

"We wholeheartedly laud the decision of the state government to distribute onions from fair price shops of Kolkata at a heavily subsidised retail price. The state government will give 100 kg of onion for sale to each fair price shop in Kolkata," said Biswambhar Basu, general secretary of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Federation.

To maintain balance of supply and demand, the Central government has also decided to import onion from foreign countries.

It might be mentioned that in November the state had sent an indent of 800 tonnes in total at the rate of 200 tonnes per week to the Central government. However, till date there is no information on when it's going to arrive in Bengal.

The indicated date of arrival is on December 15, while for clearance it requires another four days.

"We can expect it to start moving towards Kolkata around December 16 and reach here around the indicated date," pointed out an official.

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