New Delhi: In a move that could further push up onion prices, traders in Nashik and adjoining areas today went on two-day strike against income tax raids and disrupted supply to contracting traders from other states who are being forced to sell the vegetable at "below the cost price", reports PTI.
"The contracting traders have said that it would be unviable to sell below Rs30 a kg as the buying cost of onion is higher than that," Nashik-based district deputy registrar cooperative societies Bajirao Shinde told PTI.
This has virtually halted the supply of the bulb from Nashik and Lasalgaon, Asia's biggest onion market.
The retail price of onion, which is ruling at Rs55-Rs60/kg in metros, is expected to shoot up further in next few days in the wake of a short supply due to the strike.
"Onion traders in Nashik, Lasalgaon and Pimpalgaon are on strike for two days because the contracting traders from states like Delhi and Kolkata have asked them not to supply," Mr Shinde said.
Traders are protesting on fears of losses as onion, being a perishable commodity, cannot be stored if traders from neighbouring states continue to stop buying, he said.
Mr Shinde, who oversees the functioning of onion markets, said the contracting traders from Delhi, Orissa, Kolkata, Assam, and Bihar are not buying because their state governments have asked them not to sell onion more than Rs30/kg in the wholesale markets.
Currently, the wholesale price of onion in Nashik is ruling at Rs37/kg. At Lasalgaon, Asia's biggest onion market, prices were ruling over Rs43/kg.
Besides, traders are also miffed with the income tax raids conducted in some parts of the state, the official said.
Nashik and Lasalgaon regions in Maharashtra supply large quantity of onions to Delhi, Kolkata, Bihar and the north-eastern states.
Maharashtra is one of the largest producers of onion in the country with an average output of over 30 lakh tonnes.