Sky-rocketing onion prices affect many

Chennai: Soaring onion prices have left everyone fuming from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. Onion prices have touched an all-time high in Chennai with one kilogram of the vegetable being sold for Rs 150 at the Koyambedu wholesale market. And, what is more shocking is one kilogram of small onions is priced up to Rs 180.

Speaking to News Today, traders in Koyambedu wholesale market say, ”Dip in arrival of onions has led to scarcity and price rise. Imagine if it is sold for Rs 150 here, what your retail vendors will charge you?”.

Rising onion prices meant cut in use of onions at home. Seetha, a homemaker, says, ”Onion is integral part of our meal. Shocked at the price of one kilogram of onion, we have done away with it from our kitchen. Tomatoes are being used to replace the same”.

Restaurant owners too feel the pinch. ”We serve biriyani without onion these days. The price of omelettes too have shot up”, say a few roadside eatery owners.

”We stopped taking orders for onion uthappam. Quantity of onions used in sambar is also reduced. Carrot and cucumber raithas are alone served”, says a hotel owner in the city.

The tea shops which offers samosas, vadas and bhajjis have cut down on onions in vadas and masala in samosas.

Even the tipplers say they are affected. Sarvesh, a marketing executive, says, ”Onion pakodas, a big hit in bar menu, is removed from the list. They charge extra for anything that we ask with onion”.

”Onions have played a pivotal role in Indian politics and have been a decisive factor in the State elections in Delhi and Rajasthan and were also responsible for bringing down the Central government in 1980,” says Krishnan, an activist.

However, all hopes are not lost. Traders expect the price of onions to come down to Rs 50 a kg by around Pongal, when a fresh harvest is made and arrivals at the market begin to increase.

M BHARAT KUMAR