Sunday, January 16, 2011
Onions are dangerous vegetables for politicians.They have caused collapse of governments in the past.They threaten to do so today.They also bring lots of tears to the common man.
For more than a month onions have ruled the roost.At Rs 70 and Rs 80 per kg,unheard of and unimaginable.But then as they say who cares.A sensitive government should have anticipated the bad crop in Maharashtra which produces 80% of the country's onions and taken positive action.Exports of onions were allowed to go on when an imminent shortage of onions in the domestic market was expected.As usual,the bureaucrats slept and caused lots of pain to the aam aadmi.
Knee jerk reactions like importing from Pakistan were taken. That also did not last long.Then we rushed to China and imported some quantitites. Meanwhile what arrived from Pakistan were rotting in the port. Now, people may like the Chinese onions.They are twice the size of our normal onions and weigh about 250 to 300 gms each.The Chinese believe in big sizes.Whatever they do is huge.But will the imports continue? And stop the tears. Or will the stapled visa controversy stop the Chinese imports?
Union Minister Sharad Pawar was blamed. Rahul Gandhi had a subtle dig. And NCP reacted by saying that they can go alone.BJP accused the PM of being a bad economist as he allowed the prices of onions and other vegetables to shoot up to dizzy heights.
Meanwhile,the crop this time around seems to be good. The prices have fallen and might reach normalcy in another month.Let us hope the Government learns a lesson.Luckily for them the elections are not around.Otherwise,they would have got a solid thrashing.Onions may not remain in centre stage anymore.
Just a thought. Why can't we think of jumbo onions? Has it got something to do with GM vegetables? Then Jairam Ramesh may jump into the fray and not allow it to be grown like he did with brinjals.