Onion Price Rise In Odisha: Opposition Trains Guns At State Government

Bhubaneswar: No respite seems to be in sight for consumers as Odisha government seems to be in a fix on how to tame the rising prices of onions which have touched Rs 60 per kg. It seems Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department secretary’s visit to New Delhi to hold discussions with the Centre and find a solution to tide over the ‘onion crisis,’ has yielded no results.

Such stalemate and failure in tackling the situation has provided opportunity to the Opposition to take a dig at the State government. While the BJP alleged that onion mission failed just like the potato mission, the Congress alleged massive corruption in the onion mission.

“Odisha’s potato and onion missions failed, but Naveen Babu has passed. Though the Centre decided to set up a price stabilisation fund, why the state government is not procuring onions from open market and providing to people,” said State BJP vice-president, Samir Mohanty.

As per available data, Odisha’s annual onion requirement stands at 3.36 lakh MT while the State produces 3.74 lakh MT annually. Though the State government had set up 472 godowns in eight districts to store onions, many such units are allegedly lying unutilised.

Khariar MLA Adhiraj Panigrahi alleged that State government is providing subsidy to panchayats for setting up such utilities and there has been massive corruption in the programme.

“In KBK areas, you will find onion godowns, but such utilities are not being used by farmers. A committee should be constituted as there has been a scam in construction of such godowns in the State,” said Panigrahi.

Responding to opposition’s allegations, Food Supplies minister Ranendra Pratap Swain said, “Secretary has held talks with Centre and we are exploring all options.”

 

Apart from consumers, farmers are also facing the heat of onion price rise. Duryodhan Nag of Titlagarh had cultivated onions in his two acre land. But due to lack of storage facilities, Nag sold all the onion stock to traders from outside the State at mere Rs 5 to 6 per kg.

“We are farmers and we do not have space to store our produce. We sold it at Rs 5 to 6 per kg and now we are buying onions at Rs 60 per kg,” said Nag.