Sunday, February 25, 2018
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onion prices

I wrote the other day how the then ADM(Civil Supplies) Badal  Chatterjee had fought sky-rocketing prices of onions and potatoes in 1999 , purchased onions from wholesale market a little above the rates shown in their invoices and carried them in huge vans to the varies mandis and sold them for Rs10 a kg as against the black-market price which was very, very high.

I wrote that if Badal could do it why can’t the present officials repeat that. I am so happy to say that the district administration has done that with fair amount of success. And Mr K.N.Tripathi , Manager, Employees Welfare Corporation, deserves a pat for  challenging the’ bee-hive’ of  black-marketers, so to speak.  Whether it was due to what we wrote in this column or they got the idea independently is immaterial. The same exercise was repeated and onions sold at Collectorate for Rs44.50 a kg. Two quintal onions brought from the Mudera wholesale market on  Tuesday  were sold off in no time!  On  Wednesday seven quintals of onions were sold that way at that rate – five quintals at the Collectorate and two quintals near the AG office vegetable market. This exercise will continue till Diwali-eve, says Mr Tripathi.  Their vans loaded with onions are being sent to other areas too. If even then the retailers are not tamed,  the administration will set up their own mobile shops in the different vegetable markets to bring down the prices that have been artificially jacked. In other words, where there’s a will, there’s a way!
I wonder if it would be possible to sell khova too in the same manner. It is too late now. The administration can have it purchased from the villagers who presumably sell pure stuff—which is adulterated by middlemen—and sold at different outlets by charging nominal profit. This will automatically bring down the prices and also check adulteration. I am sure the price of the pure khova purchased at the village level will be much lower than the inflated rates at which the adulterated stuff is sold! It can be done. Where there’s a will there’s a way!

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