ONION TRADE at wholesale mandis in Nashik district is all set to resume from Friday after traders agreed to withdraw their ongoing boycott. Traders, who met Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, said they were asked to resume trade on the condition that that they should not hoard the bulb. Late on Thursday, the Centre issued a clarification giving traders three days to dispose of stocks from the date of purchase.
Since Tuesday, auction across wholesale markets in Nashik district had stopped after traders decided to boycott in protest against the stock limit imposed on them last week. In view of the steep rise in wholesale and retail prices of onion, the central government had fixed 25 tonnes and 2 tonnes as maximum stock that wholesale traders and retail traders could have at any time, respectively. Subsequently, Nashik traders decided to boycott the auctions claiming such limits were not practical to them. Most traders pointed this out given the large number of arrivals in the markets. Also, at retail markets, traders suspended procurement in fear of police action for failing to stick to the stock limit.
Sharad Pawar, NCP chief and former Union agriculture minister, met traders and farmers in Nashik on Wednesday and promised to take up the matter with the Centre. Dindori MP Dr Bharati Pawar met Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs Raosaheb Danve asking for a relaxation of the stock limit.
On Thursday, a delegation of traders met Thackeray and Goyal to discuss the matter. Sohanlal Bhandari, director of Pimpalgaon Baswant market in Niphad taluka of Nashik district, said they expressed their concerns about the stock limit to both leaders. “We were asked to resume trade and take steps not to hoard onions. We will try to dispose of the stock and have been given three days for the same,” he said.
Suvarna Jagtap, chairperson of Lasalgaon wholesale market, also said the onion auction will restart from Friday. “The concerns of the traders were addressed,” she added.
Most traders, however, ruled out any drastic reduction in onion prices given the shortage of the bulb in the markets. Till the new kharif and late kharif crops do not arrive in the markets in Nashik, onion prices will continue to remain high for the days to come.
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