Free onions on purchase of tyres, Humble bulb as X’mas gifts

PTI, 22-12-2010 14:43:15

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A trader in Jharkand today offered free onions on purchase of tyres while a noted humourist in Punjab plans to give this essential kitchen ingredient as gifts to housewives during Christmas as a way to flag people’s mounting concern on skyrocketing onion prices.

As responses to the dramatic increase in prices of the humble bulb are played out in a variety of ways, the issue led to pandemonium in the Orissa Assembly.

While the politically sensitive issue of rising onion prices literally bringing tears across the country, there have been unusual counter protests with Farmers in Hubli staging a "rasta roko" in front of the office of the Agriculture Produce Market Committee demanding that the prices should not be allowed to fall down.

"We are offering five kg onion free on the purchase of a truck tyre and one kg on the purchase of a car tyre," Satnam Singh Gambhir, a tyre seller at Kalimati Road in Sakchi in Ranchi said. Gambhir is also the president of All India Sikh Students’ Federation of Bihar and Jharkhand.

He said the move was meant to show discontent among people for the extraordinary rise in prices of what is normally one of the cheapest vegetable in the past few days.

Comedian-actor Jaspal Bhatti in his unique satirical style engaged the services of two Santa Claus’ to buy onions to give as gifts this Christmas.

"Common man will be much happier getting onions as gifts as the skyrocketing price of the vegetable has made it unaffordable for public," he said in Chandigarh while buying the vegetable along with the Santas at a market here.

"Though, of course, we would be able to gift a very small sized onion to only a limited number of families," he said, adding onions would be more welcome than chocolates.

In Bhubaneswar, the Orissa Assembly witnessed uproar over onion price rise with the ruling BJD members storming the well demanding a censure motion against the Centre and opposition accusing the state government of shirking its responsibility.

With rates shooting to around Rs 80 per kg, the humble bulb has become really pricey, forcing people to drastically chop their purchase of the mainstay vegetable.

Fears also mounted that blackmarketing and hoarding of onions were taking place in a big way.

With Christman and New Year Festivities round the corner, the shooting prices could well see the bulb off the table.

Political leaders are mindful that onions can be a potent political issue, with voters in 1998 throwing out the BJP in Delhi state polls after a sharp surge in onion prices. The so-called "onion factor" also helped defeat the now defunct Janata Party in 1980 elections when prices went up quickly

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