Rajnath asks Delhi to have more vans to sell onions, potatoes

New Delhi : In an effort to check the rise in prices of some essential commodities, Home Minister Rajnath Singh Thursday asked the Delhi government to increase the strength of mobile vans to ensure availability of onions and potatoes at reasonable prices and also sell these food items through 300 shops in government premises.

Rajnath Singh, who Thursday held a meeting with Lt Governor Najeeb Jung and senior officials of the Delhi administration, told media persons here that the Narendra Modi government would make maximum efforts to ensure that prices do not rise.

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“The economy was derailed during the United Progressive Alliance government. It will take time to put it back on the rails,” he said.”

Rajnath Singh said he had instructed the Delhi government to increase the number of mobile vans from 60 to 200 at the earliest.

He said there were 40 government premises from where sale of onions and potatoes had commenced Wednesday and he had instructed that the number should go up to 300. He said 200 shops will be opened in government premises to sell onions and potatoes in the next two weeks.

“I have also said that there should be no hoarding and raids should be conducted,” the minister said.

He said that raids were conducted at 540 places in the national capital July 1 and 1,082 premises were raided last month.

He said the Delhi government had been asked to fix stock limits for wholesalers and retailers for onions and potatoes to prevent hoarding.

The minister said that prices were almost at the levels that prevailed in 2013.

He said his ministry will talk to NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation) for increased procurement of onions and potatoes for Delhi at best prices.

Rajnath Singh said that the period from July 15 to Sep 15 was the “lean season” for availability of onions and Delhi government officials had been asked to finalise an action plan for its procurement.

He said an awareness campaign should be started so that the common man buys onions and potatoes from government premises or mobile vans.

Answering queries, he said the central government has also sought cooperation from the states to contain price rise.