Ban on imports from PaK leads to crises in market
The ban on imports of onions from across Line of Control (LoC) the prices of onion in Kashmir have reached to Rs 70 -75 per kg in retail. In wholesale the rates are in between Rs 50 to 60 kg while Kashmir grown onions are being sold at Rs 45 to 50 per kg.
“If the situation remains the same, I think the common people will not be able to buy the onions anymore,” said Usman Sofi of Hyderpora.
He said earlier he used to buy onions on daily basis for salad but with its soaring prices, it is getting difficult now a days to purchase it.
President All Kashmir Valley Fruit Growers Association and New Kashmir Fruit Association Fruit Mandi Parimpora, Bashir Ahmad Basheer said the deficiency of onions in the mandis outside State has resulted in abrupt rise in the prices in the Valley.
“Due to shortage of supply, the wholesalers are getting onions at Rs 50 to 60 per kg at this point of time,” he said, adding that retail prices are fluctuating in between Rs 70 to 80 per kg.
Basheer said they used to get 20 to 25 trucks of onions per day which has now reduced to 4 to 5 trucks in last 15 days.
He said increase in onion prices could not have affected Kashmir had import of onion not being banned from across LoC.
“We had a similar situation last year when onion prices reached up to Rs 100 per kg. However, we managed to control the prices after we imported the vegetable from across LoC,” Basheer said.
Kashmir used to import up to 50 truckloads of onions everyday from Pakistan administration Kashmir (PaK) via cross-LoC trade. However, PaK authorities banned export of onion to J&K from last year.
General Secretary Salamabad-Chakoti Trade Hilal Ahmad Turki said it is unfortunate that onions cannot be imported from across LoC.
“Seeing the increase in demand of onions last year, PaK authorities banned the item after facing inflation in their own market,” he said.
Under the Standing Operation Procedure (SOPs) signed on July 21, 2008, 21 items were approved for trade across the LoC, which has now been reduced to only four items.
“I hope the state government takes up lifting of ban on onions with Government of India (GoI) and ensures that it is included in the tradable item again for cross-LoC trade,” Turki said.
Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has conveyed to GoI to increase the list of tradeable items for cross-LoC trade to 72 from the present 21.