Government crackdown on onion hoarders

New Delhi: Soaring onion prices have not just left consumers teary-eyed but the government very worried. In a bid to bring down prices, the Income Tax department raided onion hoarders across the country.

Raids were conducted at 17 places across 12 districts in Bihar and Jharkhand. Reports of raids also came in from Kolay Market in Sealdah and from Asansol. The onion traders in Surat too had to face the Income Tax raids.

Nilesh Thorat, Secretary, Agricultural Produce Market Committee of Surat said, "The raids began this morning and continued the whole day to target hoarding of onion and garlic."

"They are checking how much stock we have, at what rate it has been bought, and at what rate it is being sold", added another onion trader.

The raids coincided with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's letter to Chief Ministers asking them to ensure the removal of all bottlenecks in the supply chain of vegetables, something which the Centre feels is the major reason for the galloping food inflation.

Meanwhile, onion imports from across the border that eased the shortage hit a roadblock as Pakistan stopped 300 trucks of onions at the Wagah border, saying it needed to cut exports to control domestic prices.

S M Krishna, Minister for External Affairs said, "We are in touch with the Government of Pakistan. We have initiated talks. And before not too long, we are hopeful that we will find a solution to this problem, thereby easing the pressure surrounding onions within our country."