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Onion price plunges, protests in Maharashtra


MUMBAI: Onion prices crashed by almost Rs 1,000 per quintal on Tuesday in Asia’s largest onion producing belt in Nashik after the Centre banned export of the bulb, leading to protests by farmers all over Maharashtra.

Protests were reported from Mungse, Pimpalgaon, Nampur and Umrane markets while angry farmers tried to disrupt traffic on the Mumbai-Agra Highway and other stretches. Nanasaheb Patil, former chairman of the Lasalgaon market in Nasik, said onion was being sold at Rs 2,400 per quintal as against `3,400 per quintal on last Monday.

Earlier in the day, NCP chief Sharad Pawar met Union minister Piyush Goel and urged him to reconsider the decision of imposing the ban on export of onion. Onion growers and traders were surprised with the government’s decision of banning the export of the onion, he said.

“There was no outcry by the consumer that the onion is sold at a high price despite the government taking a unilateral decision.

Most of the old stocks may perish in the summer. Farmers hardly get fair prices of their produce. The government should withdraw its decision immediately,” Patil said. Yashwant Gosavi, an onion grower, wondered why the government was not helping farmers to get decent prices unlike the way it helps beleaguered businessmen.

“There is no compensation even if farmers sell their produce at less prices. During the lockdown, it was the agriculture sector that kept the country growing. And yet, farmers are being punished by imposing this ban.”