India’s main opposition party on Tuesday demanded the Parliament should hold a discussion over skyrocketing onion prices in the country.
Congress lawmaker Chhaya Verma gave notice on Tuesday in the Parliament’s upper house Rajya Sabha over the “unprecedented rise in the price of onions” in the country.
Onion prices have zoomed to over Rs. 200 per kg (about $3) from Rs. 10-20 a few months ago at many places in different parts of the country. The onion shortage on the domestic market has been caused by a delayed harvest due to heavy rains in different parts of the onion-sowing states between July and September. The inclement weather conditions destroyed a large portion of this year's onion crop.
The Indian states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, and Gujarat are the country's key onion producing states. One third of Maharashtra’s cultivated land was destroyed due to incessant rains in the region in November.
Any respite from the exorbitantly high onion prices is unlikely in the near future despite India having approved imports from Afghanistan, Egypt and Turkey, as some shipments are slated to arrive in mid-December while others are due in January.
Imports, however, may not address the domestic shortage estimated at 160,000 tonnes, according to the national Horticulture Development Board, as onion consignments of only 21,000 tonnes has been ordered.
A 55-year old person named Sambaiyya died in Andhra Pradesh while standing in a queue to buy subsidised onions. Congress politicians staged a protest in the Indian Parliament last week, holding a bucket full of onions and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.