3-member panel to verify distress sale of onions

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government on Wednesday constituted a three-member team to verify the truth behind alleged distress sale of onions in different parts of the state.

A three member team comprising officials from the food supplies and consumer welfare department, horticulture department and Markfed will visit Bolangir and Kalahanmdi district to verify allegation of distress sale of onions, food supplies and consumer welfare minister S N Patro told reporters.

Stating that the team has been directed to submit its report by May 27, the minister said the retail price of onion in the markets of Odisha is Rs 14 a kg.

The opposition BJP has alleged that farmers are forced to go for distress sale due to lack of storage facilities in the state and they are forced to sell their produce at Rs 5 to Rs 8 per kg in the districts of Bolangir, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Deogarh.

While Odisha requires about 5 lakh tons of onions every year, the state produces about 3.5 lakh tons.

“If required, we will write to the Centre to procure onions from farmers through Nafed,” Patro said adding, the state may take some steps to help onion farmers after getting the report from the three-member team.

The ruling BJD and opposition BJP also exchanged words over the onion price.

“Farmers in BJP ruled Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh sell onions at much lower price,” said BJD spokesman P K Dev, while BJP MLA Pradip Purohit termed the ruling party’s stand as an attempt to avoid responsibility.