Soaring onion prices have become a cause of concern to customers who, given the unprecedented rise in prices, forcefully refrained from purchasing them. Customers and traders at markets are worried over the situation.
The price per kg of onion which was ₹ 40 two weeks ago surprisingly rose to ₹120 on Monday. Stocks of the main ingredient in dishes and salads disappeared from markets as traders are afraid of taking them from wholesalers from Maharashtra and Kurnool. The situation has reached such an extent that it is not used in welfare hostels and community lunches hosted at temples and elsewhere. It has also become a butt of jokes in social media.
Pushcart vendors who sell the onions going round streets are not bringing the produce as they cannot afford to purchase it at the wholesalers at main markets. Another problem that hounds them is that the stocks are rotting in a few days as they were already spoiled due to rains at the time of harvest.
Mohammed Haneef, a vendor at Gandhi Ganj, said that chances of the prices coming down in the near future appear to be bleak. Heavy rains before and after Diwali in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Rayalaseema heavily damaged the crop and therefore prices were not within the reach of the common man, he told The Hindu.
The price ranges between ₹110 and ₹170 per kg depending on the quality, size and variety. At corporate supermarkets the price is even more, scaring the customers looking at them. “I had seen this kind of situation once in 1996 when onions sold at ₹120 per kg,” sighed Mohammed Afsar Rana, a retired Railway officer expressing displeasure over the price rise.
Onions are sold even at ₹200 per kg in Solapur and other places in Maharashtra as the quantity of crop reduced to 60 per cent this season. The price was ₹150 a couple of days ago in this city. “Three days back Maharasthra traders who delivered just two truck loads of crop earned ₹80 lakh,” said Shaik Islam Sultan, a small vendor at Rythu Bazar at Subhash Nagar.
Customer Raji Reddy, of a middle class background, who was seen bargaining for price with a trader at the main market wondered how could common people with a monthly income of ₹5,000 to ₹6,000 manage if the prices of all essential commodities are swiftly rising upward every day.