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Pakistani onions arriving to wipe tears in India

Tuesday December 21, 2010 07:10:04 PM,  IANS

Amritsar: Some relief in the sky-high prices of onions in India is expected with truckloads of the commodity arriving from neighbouring Pakistan through the Attari-Wagah land border check-post, traders said Tuesday.

Amritsar-based importers have placed orders for nearly 1,000 tonnes of onions from vegetable markets in Pakistan. The produce is likely to arrive through the land border in the next one week, a leading importer said here.

At least 30 truckloads of onions arrived through the Attari-Wagah border Tuesday.

"I have placed an order for over 500 tonnes of onions from Pakistan. The stock will reach India in the next three days. I received six trucks today (Tuesday)," importer Rajdeep Uppal of Narain Exports and Imports told IANS here.

"It is the first time that we are importing vegetables from Pakistan through the land border route. So far, we had only been exporting onions, tomatoes and other things to Pakistan. In March-April this year, we had exported huge quantities of onions and tomatoes to Pakistan after that country was lashed by floods," Uppal said.

Importers in India are apprehensive that the sudden demand for onions, which India in recent years was exporting to Pakistan, could push up the prices of the commodity in the neighbouring country as well since traders there try to make a fast buck.

"The onions in Pakistan cost around Rs.20 per kg, inclusive of all duties. But the rates could go up higher as more quantity is sought," one importer here said.

Traders and importers say that up to 50 trucks of onions could be coming from Pakistan each day in the next few days to overcome partially the shortage of onions in north India's markets.

Most of the onion produce coming to India is being sought from the Sindh province of Pakistan. However, the quality of the Pakistani onion is not as good as the onion produced in India.

"The onions will be transported to markets in Amritsar, Delhi, Chandigarh, Ludhiana and Jalandhar and then onward to other places," trader Rup Lal said.

The high price of onions in most parts of India, with rates touching Rs.75-80 a kg in Delhi and Chandigarh, is mainly owing to shortfall in the onion crop in Maharashtra and Gujarat this season.






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