Potato, Onion become essential commodities

The Centre’s move to include onion and potato in essential commodities list will benefit consumers in Odisha.

The Odisha government will soon fix stock limits for onion and potato for wholesalers and retailers to clamp down on hoarding and check price rise, official sources said.

Currently, stock limit provisions exist for various food grains and cereals under the Essential Commodities Act.

According to provisions of the Essential Commodities Act, hoarders and black marketeers are liable for criminal prosecution and the hoarded materials are to be confiscated and sold in the market.

The state government is also moving the Centre to make the offence as ‘non-bailable’ instead of ‘bailable’.

While onion prices have gone up for the third time in a fortnight to Rs 30 a kg now, potato, which was selling for Rs 18 a kg a week ago, is selling at Rs 20 today.

Though the state government has asked traders to maintain a maximum gap of Rs 2.50 to Rs 3 between retail and wholesale prices of potato and a gap of Rs 3 to Rs 4 in case of onion, it seems that no one is paying any heed to it.

Odisha requires 3,000 tonne of potato and 1,000 tonne of onion every day. Odisha produced 4.32 lakh tonne of onion in 2013-14 and 4.19 lakh tonne in 2012-13. Potato production in the state is around 2 lakh tonne an annum against the requirement of 9.72 lakh tonne. Due to lack of storage facilities a large quantity of onion and potato go waste every year, official sources said.

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