Nepal Government to sell onions at low cost


The Department of Commerce, Supply and Consumer Protection (DoCSCP) has decided to sell onions that were seized from several vegetable markets at subsidised rate.

The department had earlier seized the onions from the traders who were hiding and creating an artificial shortage of the kitchen staple in the market to increase its price.

According to Ravindra Acharya, spokesperson for DoCSCP, the Food Management and Trading Company Ltd (FMTCL) will sell the onions from its outlets.

“A joint meeting held at the department on Tuesday among officials of DoCSCP, FMTCL and District Administration Office, Kathmandu has decided to sell the onions. We had seized a total of 12,000 kg of onions from Kalimati and Balkhu Fruits and Vegetables Markets and now we are going to sell it at no more than Rs 60 per kg,” he said.

While the process of registering the cases against the errant traders is ongoing, the government has decided to sell the onions as it might start to decay, he added.

According to him, the meeting had allowed FMTCL to sell the onions at Rs 52 per kg, however, adding the transportation, loading and unloading costs, the company can charge up to Rs 60 per kg.

“While FMTCL can decide on the retail price, it will range in between Rs 52 and Rs 60 a kg,” he added.

On September 16, Minister for Industry, Commerce and Supply Lekhraj Bhatta had inspected Kalimati and Balkhu Fruits and Vegetables Markets along with the DoCSCP and Nepal Police. The inspection team had seized around 250 sacks of onions from the vegetable markets. Likewise, the Nepal Police had also taken control of a van that was being used to hide sacks of onions from the Balkhu market.

The department had taken action against seven traders that day.

After the Indian government announced on September 14 that it was banning export of onions, the price of the commodity has skyrocketed overnight in the domestic market. On September 15, DoCSCP had taken action against six traders of the Kalimati market.

Just a week ago, the DoCSCP had also published a notice requesting consumers not to buy onions for a few days by paying exorbitant amount.

“We had assured consumers that we would control the market price of onions and wouldn’t let traders create an artificial shortage and we are trying our best,” Acharya said.

Following the export ban by the Indian government, the price of onion, which was earlier sold at around Rs 60 per kg, reached as high as Rs 150 a kg in the domestic market. While most traders continue to sell onions at an inflated rate, DoCSCP has claimed they have intensified their inspection to regulate the market.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on September 24, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.