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Government to relax import norms for speed up onion supply

The prices of onions, which had touched Rs 80 per kg in August and September, have again shot up to Rs 100 a kg in some places due to a shortage, triggered by unseasonal rainfall leading to crop damage in the main onion growing zones in Maharashtra. Traders have been demanding to liberalise these norms for a faster import of onions to India.

, ET Bureau|
Nov 05, 2019, 10.14 PM IST
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NEW DELHI: The government has decided to relax quality norms to facilitate immediate import of onions for curbing rising onion prices. In an inter-ministerial committee meeting, consumer affairs secretary Avinash K Srivastava directed to relax phytosanitary and fumigation norms to speed up onion imports from other producing countries like Egypt, Turkey and Iran.

The prices of onions, which had touched Rs 80 per kg in August and September, have again shot up to Rs 100 a kg in some places due to a shortage, triggered by unseasonal rainfall leading to crop damage in the main onion growing zones in Maharashtra.

“Indian missions in these countries have been asked to facilitate supply of onions to India. This will result in immediate import of 80 containers and diversion of 100 containers in high seas to India,” said a senior consumer affairs ministry official.

Traders have been demanding to liberalise these norms for a faster import of onions to India. Onion Exporters’ Association president Ajit Shah said that onion can be imported from Dubai in 10 days provided government relaxes phytosanitary norms. "If government insists on importing from original source of the commodity, here Egypt, it will take many weeks to receive shipments. However, importing Egypt origin onion from Dubai is possible in just 10 days," he said.

Similarly, relaxation in fumigation norms will help in faster lifting of stocks from docks of Dubai and other countries.

In the meeting, it was also decided to send two inter ministerial teams to Karnataka and Rajasthan to take stock of their Onion supplies and encourage the supplies to consuming regions including Delhi-NCR. The committee also directed NAFED to supply the maximum possible quantities to Delhi Government for retailing.

“A team led by Additional MD, NAFED would go to Nashik and take stock of the situation there and facilitate movement of supplies from Maharashtra to consuming regions including Delhi and adjoining regions,” the official said.

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