The prices of onions have seen a rise crossing the century-mark in various cities including Pune, thus, inviting harsh criticism from the public and opposition parties.
According to the officials of the state government, there is cold war between the Centre and the state regarding the onion price hike.
The state government officials have said that the Centre and other consuming states are now blaming Maharashtra for withholding the onion stock which is resulting in the rise of onion prices.
An official, on the basis on anonymity, said, “The Centre and other consuming states, know for a fact that the yield this year is less and the onion crop has been damaged due to prolong rains. Despite this, they are blaming us (state government) for holding stock in order to keep the prices high.”
According to a senior official from the state government, Maharashtra is the highest onion producing state in the country. At least 70-80 per cent demand of the country is fulfilled by Maharashtra’s onion produce. Hence, a shortage of produce in Maharashtra has ripple effects and is reflected in the entire country.
Another senior officer, also requesting anonymity, said, “It is true that the Centre and other consuming states are blaming the Maharashtra government for the failure of controlling onion prices. The central government brought the limits on stock holding and even conducted raids. It is clear that the Maharashtra administration is not holding stock. We cannot change their assumptions, but can only convince them about the situation on ground.”
“Maharashtra being the largest producer of onions has created storage capacity. If the other consuming states follow suit, it will help them to purchase onions when the price is low and stock it. They can bring out the stock when the price is high and control the shortage,” said a secretary-level officer on the basis of anonymity.