MALDA (TIP): Just when the Indian government is planning to take the import route to keep supply of onions on the common man’s platter steady, the pricey commodity is being sold at almost half the price in Bangladesh. Thanks to rampant export through the border area, Indians are paying around Rs 80 per kg while Bangladeshis are getting it at Rs 40 per kg.

According to sources, almost 2,500 tonnes are being exported daily through the five export centres in the state. Onions are being exported at $405 per tonne, which translates into Rs 26 per kg. No wonder then that in Bangladesh, the price is hovering around Rs 40.

“Unlike previous years, the government has not imposed any restriction on export in the wake of price hike. So the price of onion is not expected to come down any time soon,” said Samir Ghosh, a member of the Federation of Bengal Exporters’ Association. West Bengal has five export centres — Petrapol and Gojadanga in North 24-Parganas, Hili in South Dinajpur, Changrabandha in Cooch Behar and Mahadipur in Malda. Despite the recent political unrest in Bangladesh, 500-600 tonnes of onions were exported daily from Mahadipur alone. On an average, around 35-40 trucks are sent to Bangladesh from Mahadipur every day.

“The price or export rate of onions is determined by the National Agricultural Co-op Marketing Federation of India Ltd (Nafed). So onions are exported according to an existing contract. As a result, Bangladesh is getting onions cheaper. We are facing loss as well. We have asked Nafed to determine the price following market price or our country will suffer and exporters will lose interest,” said Uzzwal Saha, the joint secretary of the Exporters’ Coordination Committee.