To take legal action against hoarding of onions, the Special Branch of Delhi Police has been asked by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution to generate information and start conducting raids after forming a special team in Delhi-NCR.
The decision to form a team was taken after a meeting was called by the Ministry over the issue of “cartelisation and hoarding of food items” a few months ago.
The Ministry wants to improve domestic supply and control onion prices, which have skyrocketed to Rs 75-120 per kg across major cities now, said an official.
“During the meeting, the Ministry decided that a committee, comprising officers of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana Police, will be constituted to monitor hoarding and speculation activity on onions and tur dal. They directed the committee to meet on a regular basis and appointed Additional DCP (Special Branch) as a nodal officer, directing him to coordinate,” said a senior officer.
The Centre has already banned export of onions and imposed a stock holding limit on wholesalers and retailers for an indefinite period.
“For the first time after forming the committee, the Additional DCP has called a meeting on December 5 where he asked that an officer not below the rank of ACP be sent from Delhi, Gurgaon, Bahadurgarh, Noida, Faridabad, Sonipat and Ghaziabad,” an officer said.
When contacted, Additional DCP Jitendra Mani said, “We have called a meeting to sensitise personnel to take appropriate legal action against hoarding of onions. Earlier, the Crime Branch used to handle these kind of issues, but for the first time, the Special Branch has been asked to do so by the ministry.”
Sources told The Indian Express that a special cartelisation and hoarding cell (CHC) has been formed in the Special Branch, with four people put on the team.
“With help from local beat constables in all districts, the CHC would send staff to various markets and godowns, generate information and share their inputs with the district police, asking them to take legal action against hoarding,” said the officer.