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Cash-strapped GSHC at sea over onion crisis



Rolling up its sleeves to  deal with the onion scarcity in the state,  the Goa State Horticulture Corporation has spoken to three suppliers from Nasik and Satara (Maharashtra) and Karnataka who are ready to supply onions to Goa at reasonable rates on immediate payment.

However, the cash-strapped corporation seems be in a quandary vis-à-vis onion procurement from these suppliers, who have insisted on immediate payment on supply.

To tackle the rising onion prices, a crucial meeting was held on Monday between  Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and  GSHC chairman Pravin Zantye  along with officers.

The meeting was held to work out a strategy to procure onions at reasonable rates.

Speaking to media persons after the meeting, Zantye said the corporation has spoken to three big-time  onion suppliers from Nasik and Satara (Maharashtra) and Karnataka, who are ready to supply the onions at wholesale rate of Rs 60.

However, he said  the corporation is facing shortage of funds and is not in a position to make immediate payment to  the suppliers.

“Thus, we have requested the Chief Minister to release funds to the corporation so that it can procure onions from these suppliers as soon as possible by making immediate payment,” he disclosed.

The cash-strapped GSHC has not released a subsidy of Rs 34 crore for the last one and half year to its 1,200 retail outlet owners. An amount running into the same figures has also not been paid to onion suppliers for the last four-five months.

“Since there has been overall shortage of onions in the market due to rains in the regions

where onions and vegetables are cultivated,  suppliers insist on immediate payment… we have explained the situation to the Chief Minister  requesting him to release fund immediately,” Zantye said.

Sawant was very positive about the matter discussed at the meeting, the GSHC chairman said, adding that the government will release the money to the corporation as per the availability of funds with the state treasury.

He explained that onion prices have gone up to Rs 100 per kg not only in Goa but also in other regions like Belagavi, Hubballi, Sirsi etc.

“But our corporation has been selling onions at Rs 79 per kg. However, we want to bring the price down still further,” he said, pointing out that if the corporation manages to procure the onions from the three suppliers then GSHC outlets  will able to sell onions at rates of Rs 60 to Rs 65 per kg.

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