Customs refuses to allow consignments to be sent abroad, exporters in a fix

Written by Parthasarathi Biswas
| Pune |

Updated: September 16, 2020 2:51:58 am





Onion growers, Onion export banned, Pune news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsOnion growers protested outside the wholesale market at Lasalgaon Maharashtra on Tuesday. (Express photo)

A day after the Central government prohibited the export of onion, over 7,000 tonnes of the vegetable headed overseas is now stuck at Mumbai Port.

The government banned the export of the onion over concerns of its steady rise in wholesale and retail prices. This ban, announced in the middle of a working day, came even as exporters were lining up their consignments for the overseas market. At the Mumbai Port, custom officials swung into action and stopped all consignments from leaving their premises, exporters said.

Onion Exporters Association of India president Ajit Shah said, “There were cases when the consignment was about to be loaded onto the vessels but was stopped,” he said.

Similarly, around 300 truckloads of onion are said to be stuck at three land border checkposts in West Bengal after customs officials refused to allow the consignments to pass into Bangladesh.

Nanduseth Daga, the president of the Nashik-based Onion Traders Association, said more trucks are expected to reach the land port over the next three days. “It normally takes three days to reach the Bangladesh land border and thus we will get a clear picture only in the next few days,” he said.

Exporters have protested the abrupt ban and said it has completely disrupted their business. “We do not oppose the ban, but why bring it so abruptly? The consignments at the ports should at least be allowed to go,” Shah said.

The move has also evoked sharp reactions from farmer organisations and opposition leaders.

Farmers organisations led by the Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana and the Shetkari Sanghtana hit the streets in protests, and farmers stopped the auction of onion at Lasalgaon’s wholesale mandi in Nashik district in protest against the export ban.

Subsequently, the average traded price of the onion on Tuesday slid to Rs 28.01 per kg at the mandi from a high of Rs 30 per kg on Monday.

The ban comes at a time when Indian onions were enjoying a fresh lease of demand from overseas markets like the UAE, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Last September, when a similar ban was enacted, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had urged the Government of India to provide prior notification before such ban is put.

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