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A tearjerker: Onion @100 per kg in West Bengal

Households take chicken and fish curries off plate; many wedding hosts revise menu.

Written by Sweety Kumari | Kolkata | Updated: November 28, 2019 1:52:09 pm
kolkata city news, onion prices, onion prices in west bengal, onion prices india, cyclone bulbul At Janbazar vegetable market in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Express photo by Partha Paul)

Many households in the state have decided to take fish and chicken curry off their kitchen. Hosts to several weddings are revising their menu. The reason? The onion price on Wednesday soared to Rs 100-a-kg mark at retail vegetable markets. Traders have blamed Cyclone Bulbul and alleged hoarding in Maharashtra and Karnataka for shortage in the supply of the bulbous vegetable.

Sandhya Shaw, a domestic helper in Kamarhati area under North 24 Parganas district, said the soaring onion prices had left her in a fix as how to manage her daughter’s wedding within her budget. “My daughter’s wedding is on December 1. We have set aside an amount for the menu. As the onion prices have gone up, the cook has increased his budget. I don’t know how I will manage. I think we have to either use less onions or have to completely manage without them if we want to stick to our budget,” said Shaw.

There are others in the state who have shunned non-vegeterian foods for now. Onion is the most elementary gradient in such curries.

“Chicken and onion are being sold at almost the same price. So we have turned vegetarian and are eating spinach and other seasonal vegetables instead of fish and chicken,” said Subhir Bhattacharya, a teacher from Baguihati area in North 24 Parganas.

Sangeeta Acharya, a housewife, said, “I would buy 1 kg of onion for a week from the super market as it was cheap. But, for the time being, we are not using onions.”

At several local vegetable markets in Kolkata, onions are selling at Rs 120 a kg or even more. The state government’s efforts, including formation of a task force, to check onion prices have seemingly failed. Rabindranath Koley, a member of the task force, accused the Central government of not cooperating with state government to bring onion prices down. “Usually, 25-30 trucks each with 16 tonnes of onion enter Bengal daily. But, these days only two-three trucks are carrying onions in the state. The annual consumption of onion in the state is 9 lakh metric tonnes yearly,” Koley said.

Wholesale traders in Bengal blamed the supply chain, saying their counterparts in Maharashtra’s Nasik and Karnataka have hoarded onions. They also blamed cyclone Bulbul which left many parts of the state flooded. However , the task force members claimed that due to its inspection in local market, prices of other vegetables have come down.

Meanwhile, the task force assured that the situation will improve by next week.

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