Stating that the prices of onions have skyrocketed in the state as the people have stopped cultivating onions in their fields, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant, on Friday, categorically declined to provide surplus subsidy to counter the onion price hike.
The Chief Minister also blamed it on the ‘susegado’ or relaxed attitude of Goans, stating that this attitude has led the landowners to give up farming, which is one of the reasons why prices of onions have reached sky high.
Delivering a speech at an awards’ ceremony organised by the Goa Panchayat Mahila Shakti Abhiyan, the Chief Minister maintained that the public cannot hold the government accountable for this price rise, as the farmers have left taking onion crop for the past 5 to 6 years, even after the government provided them minimum support price for vegetable cultivation.
“The government cannot be held responsible for high onion prices,” Sawant argued, pointing out that “we are responsible for it being susegado; we have quit planting vegetables and rice.”
He further stated that essential commodities such as milk, vegetables, even flowers have to be imported from the neighbouring states.
Questioning as to who is responsible for the onion prices moving between Rs 150 and Rs 180, the Chief Minister said that rains are not responsible for it, but we are.
“All of us used to grow onions, but now, we have stopped doing that,” he mentioned, noting that women in Goa used to cultivate onions, chillies and vegetables, which are required for the households for a year, but no more.
The government has recently released Rs 15 crore to the Goa State Horticulture Corporation, in a bid to bring down the escalating onion prices.