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Mamata pays surprise visit to city market, takes stock of onion prices

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday morning paid a surprise visit to the Sufal Bangla retail outlet at Jadubabur Bazar, to take stock of the prices of onion and other vegetables.

Her visit comes on a day when fair price shops across the city have started selling onions at Rs 59 per kg per family, to make the vegetable available to common people at a reasonable price.

"At a time when one kg of onion is available in the market between Rs 140 and Rs 150, our state government's supply chain and sales point known as Sufal Bangla is selling the same onion at Rs 59 per kg. Our government is always committed to safeguarding the interests of the common people. I have visited Jadubabur market in Bhowanipore today to check the market price," said Banerjee, who also posted a video of her visit to the market on Facebook.

She also interacted with the vendors and enquired about the price of different vegetables. "We want vendors selling onions at the market to sell it below Rs 100 per kg. This apart, price of other vegetables should be monitored as well," added Banerjee.

On Sunday, state Food department officials, state Agricultural Market officials and fair price shop owners conducted an emergency meeting on the skyrocketing price of onion due to a shortage of supply from Nasik at Khadya Bhawan.

During the meeting, it was decided that all 935 fair price shops across the city will sell onions at Rs 59 per kg from Monday. As a result, fair price shops across the city saw unprecedented rush of customers during the day.

"Within three and a half hours, we sold 130 kg of onions today (Monday). We sold onions at Rs 59 per kg per family on first-come first-serve basis," said Md Mazhar Hossain, the owner of a fair price shop at Bright Street.

"By the time I went to the fair price shop to buy onions, they were already sold out. The shop keeper assured me that it will be available tomorrow," said Dilawar Hossain, a resident of Bright Street.

In Tamil Nadu and Madurai, onions are being sold for over Rs 200 per kg, while in Kolkata the price has touched Rs 150.

"We welcome the initiative of selling onions through fair price shops," said Shantilal Jain, former chairman of Calcutta Tramways Company and a resident of Burrabazar.

"It is good that our Chief Minister is concerned about the sufferings of common people. The government should also check black marketing of onions in the city. I would like to point out that middlemen usually stock up on produce bought at lower rates and sell big only when the market is starved," said Om Prakash Singh, a resident of the city.

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