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All-out efforts to check onion price: Govt

Mentioning the Tamil Nadu government to be making every effort to bring down the soaring onion prices, Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju on Thursday said that more than 600 State-run farm-fresh outlets and ration shops will now sell small-sized country onions at a cost of Rs 50 per kilogram and that 500 metric tonnes of the vegetable from Egypt is expected in a couple of days.

All-out efforts to check onion price: Govt
Cooperation Minister Sellur Raju addresses media after reviewing the onion prices in Chennai, on Thursday


Reviewing the onion prices in Chennai on Thursday, the Minister said that the State government has also allocated a corpus of Rs 100 crore for the Cooperatives department to fight the price rise of essential commodities. Onions will slowly lose its demand by next month as fresh stock has started arriving from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Egypt.

The State is awaiting another 500 metric tonnes of Egyptian onions through the central distribution scheme. Commenting on the price of small onions used for sambhar which is largely consumed in Tamil Nadu, the Minister said that the prices would gradually come down by next month as around 25,000 metric tonnes of the vegetable are to be harvested shortly. In fact, the harvest season has already commenced in Virudhunagar district and the State will also continue the import of onions from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka,Raju added.

Further, to address the shortage of onions, the Minister said that the State Agriculture department had supplied 25,000 kg of subsidised and free seeds to farmers for cultivation of small size onions over 60,000 acres in Pudukkottai, Theni, Erode, Salem, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts. Ninety per cent of this harvest will completely cater to the State’s demand and drip irrigation has been suggested to increase the crop yield, he added.

When asked why Tamil Nadu farmers are not into cultivation of onions, the Minister said that the lack of minimum cost support for the crop has made the vegetable less preferable. Besides, the big sized onions used by hotels are being cultivated only over 6,000 acres, he said.

To control the artificial escalation of price rice, the State Civil Supplies department and the Food department officials are regularly monitoring the traders in wholesale markets. The stock restrictions on small and large traders will continue until the prices fall and by March, the onion will lose their market value, the Minister further said.

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