Millennium Post

Govt struggles to check surge in onion price as it touches Rs 150

Kolkata: The state government is struggling to curb the skyrocketing price of onions and has started distributing the vegetable through its Sufal Bangla outlets at Rs 59 per kg, said Abdur Razzak Molla, state minister for Food Processing Industries and Horticulture on Wednesday.

Sufal Bangla is a supply chain monitored by the state Agricultural Marketing department. It was only last week when onion, one of the prime components for chicken, mutton and fish dishes, was priced between Rs 80 and 100 per kg. However on Wednesday, the retail price of one kg of onion has shot up to Rs 150. Depending upon the quality, onion prices vary in the market.

Due to heavy rain in South India, 95 percent of the onions in the fields have been destroyed. Maharashtra, the biggest supplier of onions to Bengal, has also been affected due to heavy rain.

"Bengal consumes 75,000 to 80,000 metric tonnes of onions every day. The Agricultural Marketing department is looking after the Sufal Bangla outlets. As Horticulture minister, I look after the production side. Members of the state government's task force are keeping a strict vigil on the sale and purchase of the vegetable in the markets," the minister added.

The onion merchants have hinted that normal supply of the vegetable from Nasik will take around three and a half months more, as harvesting of rabi onion is all set to begin from mid-March next year.

City-dwellers will soon feel the pinch in their pockets as restaurants are apprehending a hike in prices of various dishes due to the increasing prices of onion.

"Today, we bought onions at Rs 120 per kg. It is affecting our business. If the price of onion continues to escalate then we have to increase the price of the dishes. We require 180 kg of onions to make the dishes every day. We are now stocking onions to balance the cost of preparing the food and selling price," said Asif Ali of Zeeshan restaurant in Park Circus. Meanwhile, a few restaurants pointed out that they have stopped making dishes that required high quantity of onions.

"Last month when the cost of one kg of onion shot up to Rs 70, we stopped preparing chicken changayzee because it required high quantity of onions. We have lost 5 percent of chicken changayzee customers," said Md Shabbir of Shaina Chicken Corner situated at Samsul Huda Road.

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