Until last week, 18,000 tons of imported onions were ready to be delivered to various Indian states, but these ended up buying only 3,000 tons of the goods. Now, the Modi government is offering Bangladesh a lower price to buy the stock. It has asked Bangladesh to procure the onions that India has imported after a majority of states withdrew their demand for the commodity, ThePrint has learnt.
At a meeting held Monday, the Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry made an offer to acting Bangladesh High Commissioner Rokebul Haque to buy the onion stock that India had imported for domestic consumption, said a senior government official familiar with the matter.
As of 12 January, 18,000 tonnes of imported onions had arrived in India out of a total contract of 36,000 tonnes, said the official who didn’t wish to be named. “Out of the amount of arrived onions, the state governments have only procured around 3,000 tonnes while the rest of the stock is waiting at Mumbai JNPT port,” the official added.
Maharashtra, Assam, Haryana, Karnataka and Odisha have withdrawn their demand of 10,000 tonnes, 3,000 tonnes, 3,480 tonnes, 250 tonnes and 100 tonnes of imported onion, respectively, Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan confirmed earlier this month. The states had asked for imported onions to deflate the soaring prices — over Rs 100 per kg in November-December — of the commodity, but backed out citing high prices and difference in taste.
This has sparked concern that if states do not lift the imported onions, the commodity will perish. Onion is a highly perishable item which gets depreciated due to rotting and sprouting by 35 per cent in a week.