Private traders have placed orders for importing onions and at least 1,000 tonnes are expected by the end of the month, which will help ease retail prices that are still ruling high at over Rs 60 per kilogram, a senior government official said on Tuesday.
The retail prices of onion had soared to Rs 100 per kg a week back in the national capital. Although government intervention helped bring the prices a bit lower, the rates are still ruling above Rs 60 per kg in Delhi as well as other areas of the country.
"Private traders have informed the government that they have imported a small quantity of onion. Traders are expected to order further 1,000 tonnes for delivery by month-end and another lot for next month," a senior Consumer Affairs Ministry official told news agency Press Trust of India.
The shipments will come smoothly as the government has liberalised phytosanitary and fumigation norms for import of onion till December-end, the official added.
To improve domestic availability and contain price rise, the government is facilitating onion imports through private as well as public trading agencies.
The government has decided to import 1 lakh tonnes of onion through state-run MMTC, which has already invited bids for import of 4,000 tonnes.
Onion prices came under pressure due to an estimated fall of 30-40 per cent in the kharif (summer) output this year on account of floods and drought.
Besides easing norms for import, the government has taken several measures including ban on exports, stock limits on traders and sale of the commodity stored as buffer, at a subsidised rate.