As onion prices continued to skyrocket in Delhi, crossing Rs 80 per kg, consumers made a beeline for the fair price shops and mobile vans set up by the AAP government to sell the vegetable. However, many of these outlets ran out of stock by Friday evening, leaving dozens of people waiting in the serpentine queues, empty-handed.
The government had earlier claimed that it had bought a sufficient quantity of onions to meet the demands of the citizens of the capital in the forthcoming days.
Now the government has set a limit of one kg per consumer to ensure everyone gets their share of onions. However, some consumers were seen queuing up multiple times at the shops and vans to get around the new rule.
The government has also announced its decision to launch 10 more outlets in the capital. According to Food and Supplies Minister Asim Ahmad Khan, the government is trying to increase the stock of onions in safal stores, fair price shops and mobile vans, in an effort to bring down prices to Rs 25 per kg by next week.
The government also held a review meeting with Delhi police officials and the traffic police to make the entry of trucks carrying onions easier. The meeting was attended by senior ministry officials, Delhi Traffic Police, Small Farmers Agri-Business Consortium (SFAC) and the food commissioner.
“In the run-up to Independence Day, many trucks carrying onions were halted and hence there was a delay in the vegetable reaching the mandis. But now, we have requested the police not to halt those trucks. The police will be given the number of trucks carrying our quota of onions once they start from Nasik,” said the minister.
The Delhi government has also urged citizens not to indulge in “panic buying” of onions since sufficient stock was available. It has claimed that nearly 1,000 tonne of onions is available in open market, the same quantity available at this time last year.
Rural development minister Gopal Rai has directed officials to convene a meeting of wholesalers at the earliest to ensure there is no hoarding of onions in Delhi. “If the stock availability is same as last year in the open market, then there are gaps which need to be filled to ensure that prices do not keep going up in the open market,” he said.
Meanwhile, teams from food and civil supplies department have been directed to conduct surprise checks at fair price shops to make sure that common people are getting the benefit of the price and nobody is being allowed to buy above the specified quantity.