India yet to allow stranded onion trucks to enter Bangladesh

Onion price to remain logical, hopes commerce secretary
Onion price to remain logical, hopes commerce secretaryUNB file photo
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The officials of the Indian external affairs ministry have begun talks with the country’s commerce ministry officials on the request made by Bangladesh to withdraw the ban imposed on onion export as soon as possible.

The talks which could not yield any results until Wednesday evening, however, focussed on at least allowing several hundred onion-laden trucks stranded on India-Bangladesh borders to enter Bangladesh, said the officials.

Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla's recent Dhaka visit has been considered as one of the sincerest efforts of New Delhi to reenergise the ties between the two neighbouring countries. But, this unannounced and sudden ban could stand in the way of those efforts, according to a source at the Indian external affairs ministry.

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India’s decision has posed a negative impact on onion markets in Bangladesh, surging its prices threefold.

A similar crisis had erupted last autumn when India had stopped the export of onions to Bangladesh. The subsequent surge in prices in Dhaka’s markets had prompted prime minister Sheikh Hasina to take up the issue with the Indian side during her October visit to Delhi.

The prime minister, then, expressed her discontent over the Indian government’s sudden decision of slapping a ban on onion export to Bangladesh. She publicly said that India should have informed Bangladesh about such decisions in advance.

However, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) of India on Monday issued a notification imposing restrictions on onion export with immediate effect.

India’s decision has posed a negative impact on onion markets in Bangladesh, surging its prices threefold.

The sudden ban on onion exports has come as a shock to farmers in India’s Maharashtra.

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AIKS leaders think that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the decision to gain political benefits.

The farmers and traders at Lasalgaon of Maharashtra, India’s largest wholesale market, on Thursday staged a protest demanding the withdrawal of the government’s decision to ban onion export. The farmers of other states are also unhappy with the decision.

All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS), the farmer organisation of the CPM, joined the agitation.

According to AIKS, the decision is completely political.

AIKS leaders think that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) took the decision to gain political benefits.

The prices of onion are under Rs 40 in India’s wholesale market. Despite the fact, the Indian government imposed the ban at a time when the farmers were hoping to make up their losses from floods, they alleged.

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