Bharatiya Janata Party ally Rayat Kranti Sanghatana leader Deepak Pagar has threatened to start a tractor rally from Nashik to Mumbai if the Centre does not withdraw its decision to implement a 40 per cent export duty on onions.
The Rayat Kranti Sanghatana is a farmer outfit which is led by Sadabhau Khot and Deepak Pagar is the head of the Sanghatana in Nashik. Pagar reportedly said, "This decision is wrong".
Nationalist Congress Party leader Chhagan Bhujbal told The Indian Express that he will be meeting Chief Minister Eknath Shinde to discuss the situation with the price rise of onions.
Bhujbal is the Minister for Food and Civil Supplies in Maharashtra after he joined the coalition government under the leadership of Ajit Pawar in July 2023. Bhujbal is also an MLA from the Yeola constituency which is a dominant onion growing area.
What did Eknath Shinde say about the onion price rise?
On Tuesday, the Maharashtra CM Eknath Shinde, said that cold storage could be a permanent solution to the problems of onion growers, and directed officials to deal with the issue.
Speaking at a press conference along with deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, he also said that the government is working on the concept of 'onion bank', and a panel headed by senior scientist and former Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar has been set up for it, reported PTI.
“There is a need to set up cold storages for onions. If this happens, there will be a permanent solution to the problems faced by farmers. The concerned department has been directed to work on two-three options to address this,” Shinde reportedly said.
The Union government's decision to impose a 40 per cent export duty on onions, an act designed to control price volatility in the kitchen food variety, has been protested by some farmers. Nashik, Ahmednagar and parts of Pune district form a major onion-producing belt in Maharashtra.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal on onion price rise
Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday alleged that some "political opponents" are creating a "wrong picture" about the export duty slapped on onion, and urged farmers not to worry as the Centre has restarted procurement at Rs 2,410/quintal for its buffer stock.
The minister asserted that the decision to impose a 40 per cent export duty on onion has been taken to protect the consumers' interest, but at the same time the Centre has also decided to purchase additional 2 lakh tonnes of onion from farmers to avoid any panic selling.
He also said the government will increase the size of the buffer stock and procure more from farmers if the need arise.
At a media briefing, Goyal announced that additional procurement of 2 lakh tonnes of onion for the buffer stock will be done at Rs 2,410 per quintal, which he said is an "historical rate" and much higher than the average Rs 1,800-1,900 per quintal the farmers normally get from exports.
"Some political opponents have been trying to present a wrong picture (about export curbs). I would urge all farmers in onion producing states not to worry and indulge in any panic selling. NCCF and NAFED have been directed to procure onion from farmers," Goyal said.