PASWAN FOR SETTING UP GODOWNS FOR ONION & POTATO

To check volatility in prices of onion and potato, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said there is a need to set up warehouses for storing these two commodities to ensure supply during the lean season. "We see onion prices rising every year during the June- September period. This cyclical price rise can be avoided if we can create 15-20 godowns," Paswan said at a seminar organised by the India Today Group. Unlike wheat and rice that are stored by state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI), there is not enough storage space of vegetables across the country, he said.
As FCI is expanding storage space over the years, Paswan said that there is a need to create godowns for vegetables and fruits. He also added that such a scheme was intiatated during the NDA regime.
Noting that hoarding is the key reason for price rise in onions, Paswan said that much of the powers to act against hoarders and black marketeers lies with the states. "There are acts like Essential Commodities Act and Prevention of Black Marketing Act. But their implementation lies with the states. We can only empower them to take stern action," he added. Yesterday, the Centre decided to bring onion and potato under the purview of the stock holding limits under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and empowered states to take action against hoarders. It has also imposed minimum export price on onion and potato to improve domestic supplies. Paswan also said the issues related to food inflation and implementation of food law will be discussed in tomorrow's meeting with the state food ministers.

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