Onions or not, public issues should be govt’s concern Mr Sibal

While the rain may not be in government’s control but all the other factors can well be regulated by them.

The UPA government never ceases to make lame statements about anything that can demand their attention. Be it a big scam like Coalgate or a menial party-opposition fight, it has championed in all the departments who surprise us by the really third-rate lines on serious issues.

Recent in the line is union minister Kapil Sibal. According to him, we should ask traders about the rising price of onions because “the government doesn’t sell onions”. However politically correct his statement may be, it is a very naive statement.

We very well know that the prices of onions or any of the vegetables are market regulated and not government regulated. The prices of onions and other vegetables are soaring high in the nation. The prices of onions in particular have shot up to the range of Rs 75 to Rs 110 in many parts of the country.

The price of a food commodity in a demand supply paradigm is affected due to factors like weather (rain), transportation cost and hoarding. While the rain may not be in government’s control but all the other factors can well be regulated by them.

The transportation cost has gone up because of the rise of fuel prices. As a result, the traders are either unable to supply the produce to the market or are hoarding it for their personal gain due to high demand. In this year alone, government raised the prices of fuel seven times and it plans to do so again in three months.

While Sibal did not say anything on this matter, when asked about hoarding by traders he simply got away by saying that the Centre has directed all state governments to take action against traders and speculators. Also, the government has done a little to keep tab on the onion exports, which are going on despite the crunch in the country. As a result, we had to rely on the neighbouring country Pakistan for the supply of onions.

Just a few days ago, Sharad Pawar had made a silly statement saying that when prices of onion fall no one shows concern about it. When the farmers are gaining from the price rise, we should not complain about it, ha had further added. Maybe Pawar forgot that it is not farmers who gain by the price rise but the traders who hoard the produce to keep the prices artificially high and gain from it.

What is striking that the ministers who we let rule because we want a good economy and a good future are not at all sympathetic towards the daily problems faced by the common man. Earlier, Congress’s Shiela Dikshit government and other parties went on doing politics on rising onion prices. But at least the common man was benefited by the low priced onions provided by them.

The one sane statement which infused hope in people came from food minister KV Thomas. With the production of new crops coming from Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in the market, he expected the prices to drop considerably by the month end.

The wholesale dealers too have predicted a fall in vegetable prices by October 15.

But the most important statement which should come from UPA and its ministers is that they should regulate the external factors like fuel prices, so that the already bent from the backbone public is able to walk properly in this economic crisis.

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