October 31, 2023
KOLKATA – With the festivities coming to an end and the city gearing up to resume daily life, soaring onion prices are leaving the middle class of Kolkata teary-eyed. Late arrival of supply coupled with hindrances in truck movements, are putting a burden on Bengali households.
Till a week ago, the prices of onions were anything between Rs 30-35. However, after the Durga Puja festivities came to an end, there was a sudden hike in the prices of onions in the city markets. The pink vegetable was being sold at Rs 70-80 at several places in Kolkata. Other seasonal vegetables also are giving a tough competition in terms of prices to the onions that form a crucial part of the Bengalis’ favourite ‘machher jhol.’
The agony is equal for roadside eateries selling food items like rolls and fritters. Fearing to lose their customers, many vendors have decreased the quantity of onions being used by them while some others are waiting for the onion prices to fall. The restaurants are unwilling to take any chances with their sales during the festive season, keeping their fingers crossed for a fall in the skyrocketing prices of onions.
According to Kamal Dey, a member of the the market task force set up by the state government, the crisis has been caused by the disruption in supply. “ During Durga Puja, the trucks carrying onions were blocked and stranded at entry points of the state.
Being a perishable item, a considerable percentage of the onions rotted as the trucks were stranded for a few days. This has resulted in shortage of good quality stocks thereby resulting in increased prices at the wholesale market,” informed Mr Dey.
The crisis is also a result of the late arrival of supply after the monsoons in the large onion markets of the country like Nasik, Chennai, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan, to some extent, according to Mr Dey. The member of the market task force, however, hoped the situation would improve in a week.