New Delhi: With a sharp fall in onion prices in the retail market to Rs 30 per kg, the government on Monday decided to end the subsidised sale of the kitchen staple from Tuesday in the national capital, but it would continue to monitor the situation to prevent the recurrence of the crisis.
A high-level meeting, which was convened by Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, also decided to discontinue the 30 per cent subsidy that the Centre was offering to farm cooperatives for subsidised onion sale from tomorrow, official sources said.
Food minister KV Thomas, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and senior officials of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs ministry participated in the meeting.
"Since onion prices have started coming down in Delhi and other cities, it was thought that the subsidised sale of the vegetable was not needed from tomorrow," a source said.
Onion prices have declined to Rs 30 per kg from a peak of Rs 70-85 per kg as on December 20-21.
"We reviewed the market scenario of onions and other vegetables. The meeting expressed pleasure over easing of prices of onions in the national capital," Dikshit told reporters here.
The state government would discuss steps to keep a tab over the situation and take measures to avoid recurrence of such situation in future, she added.
In order to provide relief to the consumers, the Centre had decided to sell onions at cheaper rates in Delhi through outlets of Mother Dairy, NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Fedration), National Consumer Co-operative Federation (NCCF) and Kendriya Bhandar.
It also launched a scheme, under which 30 per cent subsidy was being provided to these agencies to cover the losses, if any.
The subsidy scheme is valid till Monday and the high-level meeting decided not to extend the scheme further, sources added.
The meeting also pondered over possibility of creating fruits and vegetables hubs around prominent cities to feed the urban population and also to avert crisis situation like the present one, sources said.
It was emphasised that there is a need for creating additional storage capacity in the cities for reinforcing supply of farm produce in the time of crunch, they added.
Meanwhile, prominent agri-cooperative NAFED on Monday cut the prices of onions to Rs 20 per kg on its last day of subsidized sale.
The subsidised sale will end from Tuesday, although if there is any left out stock in NAFED godowns, the same would be cleared in the next 1-2 days at Rs 20 per kg, Nafed Managing Director Sanjeev Chopra told in New Delhi.
Wholesale price of onions have come down to Rs 5-17 per kg in Azadpur wholesale market in Delhi on Monday.
The wholesale price of the commodity was recorded at Rs 17 per kg in main producing region Lasalgaon in Nashik district of Maharashtra and Rs 15 per kg in Pimpalgaon in the same district.