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Pakistan to resume exporting onions to India

New Delhi: Pakistan will resume exporting onions to India, External Affairs Minister SM Krishna said on Thursday, just a day after Pakistani authorities decided to ban its export through Wagah-Attari road route.

Krishna said in New Delhi on Friday that Pakistan will send more quantity of onion sent by ship and rail route to India. Indian authorities are already in touch with their Pakistani counterparts on the issue.

Krishna had earlier spoken to Pakistan on lifting its ban on overland stopping onion reports, and is awaiting its response. Krishna had said, “We have initiated talks with Pakistan and we will find a solution soon to ease the pressure on prices.”

Onion prices have risen by Rs 5-10 per kg on Thursday after Pakistan banned exports of the commodity via Wagah border.

The Competition Commission ordered a probe into the possible cartelisation by traders. In a bid to rein in the spiralling price authorities also raided onion traders in many cities inclusing Surat, Kanpur, Kolkata and Lucknow on Friday.

At the Wagah-Attari border near Amritsar 300 India-bound trucks carrying 3,000 tonnes of onion are stranded resulting in prices shooting up.

Onion prices have increased to Rs 60-65 a kg in major metros such as Delhi, Chennai and Mumbai.

Home Minister P Chidambaram expressed doubt on whether the government had all instruments to check price rise. He said, “I believe that price stability is extremely important especially in a poor country. There is no tax worse than inflation. I’m not sure whether we understand all the factors that contribute to price rise, nor am I sure whether we have all the tools to control inflation.”

Consumer Affairs Secretary Rajeev Agarwal said, “The way onion prices almost doubled on December 20 is not easy to explain. Whether cartels exist will come out only after inquiry by the CCI. The new rabi crop onion will come in the market in February. The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India and NCCS are trying to bring atleast 10 trucks of onion from Gujarat and Rajasthan to Delhi. STC is trying to bring the onion by sea route.”

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