Onion prices sparks fury, armed robbery in India

Posted on August 28, 2013 by

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 Any Saturday you may find me among  the throngs of Bostonians headed for  fruits and vegetables at Haymarket in Boston.  Today,  I read several articles about onion prices in India and armed robberies. It made me think, for onions?

I paid about $4.00 for a huge bag of oinions last Saturday.  The bag I purchased is about the same type as the picture.  CAP_OnionPrices_11_photoblog600According to NBCNews.com,

The cost of a pound of onions has risen from around 9 rupees (13 ceout nts) to an average of 45 rupees (65 cents) in the last month alone. The shortage is front-page news in the country, where high onion prices have been credited with swinging elections in the past.

New Delhi-based onion dealer Rataas Paul, 27, has been forced to raise his prices due to the shortage. “We have to keep guard of our onions at night now to ensure nothing happens to them,” he said.

“It is not usual to target food or vegetables,” said Ram Kishore, a police officer from the northern district of Shahpura where the truck carrying 40 tons of onions was seized last Wednesday. “Thieves do hijack loaded trucks, but it is usually for something more valuable.”

Really for onions?

Nitin Khurafati, who is one of the Indian capital’s most popular radio DJs, said the spike in prices was all his listeners wanted to discuss.      

“Even if I try to talk about something else, they start talking about onions,” the Fever FM host said. “It’s a staple of Indian food so everyone is really angry right now.”

He added that the station had been overwhelmed with calls after he started a competition to win 11 pounds of onions.   

If it wasn’t so sad it would be funny.

With many states holding provincial elections this month and a national election next year, opposition parties have been quick to get on the offensive.

BJP member Vijay Jolly gave away bags of onions instead of the traditional candy during the Hindu festival of Rakhi.

“When the onion went above 80 rupees [per kilogram –or 36 rupees per pound] that was a deal breaker,” BJP spokeswoman Meena Kashi Lekhi said. “But this is just a wider symbol for the government’s failure to manage the economy properly.”

Stung by the criticism, the government is also cn India onsidering importing onions from neighboring Pakistan — India’s arch-enemy.

Recent monsoons in India has caused the spike in prices. The elderly are particularly hit hard by the price increases. Onions are a staple in India.

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