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India banned onion exports. Now Asia has eye-watering prices

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From Kathmandu to Colombo, it’s a kitchen nightmare: Onion prices have gone crazy. That’s because India, the world’s biggest seller of the Asian diet staple, has banned exports after extended Monsoon downpours delayed harvests and supplies shrivelled. And dedicated buyers across the region, like Nepalese housewife Seema Pokharel, are flummoxed.

“This is a terrible increase,” said Pokharel, out shopping for vegetables in Kathmandu. “Onion prices have more than doubled in the last month alone.”

Whether it’s Pakistani chicken curry, Bangladeshi biryani or Indian sambar, Asian consumers have developed a serious dependence on Indian onion supplies for go-to dishes. Shorter shipment times than from rival exporters like China or Egypt play a crucial role in preserving the taste of the perishable commodity.

But last Sunday India banned all exports from India after local prices jumped to 4,500 rupees ($63.30) per 100 kg, their highest in nearly six years, due to the delay in summer-sown crop arrivals triggered by longer, heavier rains than usual.

Since the ban, countries such as Bangladesh have turned to the likes of Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey and China to increase supplies in a bid bring prices down, government officials and traders said.

But the hefty volumes lost will be hard to replace.

India exported 2.2 million tonnes of fresh onions in the 2018/19 fiscal year ended March 31, according to data from India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority. That’s more than half of all imports by Asian countries, traders estimate.

‘TAKING ADVANTAGE’

Rising prices of alternative supplies will add to the headache for importers trying to get the vegetable from elsewhere, said Mohammad Idris, a trader based in Dhaka. In the Bangladesh capital, consumers are now being asked to pay 120 taka ($1.42) per kilogramme for their prized onions – twice the price a fortnight ago and the highest since December, 2013.

“Prices are going up elsewhere in Asia and Europe,” said Idris. “Other exporting countries are taking advantage of the Indian ban” to raise their asking price.

In response to the crisis, the government of Bangladesh has initiated sales of subsidised onions through the state-run Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB).

“We are looking for all possible options to import onions. Our target is to import in the shortest possible time,” said TCB spokesman Humayun Kabir.

But the shipments from elsewhere – Iran and Turkey are also potential suppliers – that authorities in countries across the region are investigating will all take time.

“It takes one month when it comes from Egypt and about 25 days from China, while it takes only a few days from India,” said Dhaka trader Idris.

The need for alternative imports is so severe, though, that countries like Sri Lanka have already placed orders with Egypt and China, said G Rajendran, president of the Essential Food Commodities, Importers and Traders Association.

Onion prices in Sri Lanka have risen by 50% in a week, to 280-300 Sri Lankan rupees per kilogramme.

‘DOUBLE THE PRICE’

For other countries, there may be little option but to sit tight and hope for the best.

Malaysia, the second-biggest buyer of Indian onions, expects the ban to be temporary and sees no reason to panic, said Sim Tze Tzin, deputy minister of agriculture.

But even India has been importing onions from Egypt in an effort to calm prices. And there won’t be any meaningful drop in prices before summer-sown crops start to hit the market, said Ajit Shah, president of the Mumbai-based Onion Exporters’ Association.

That’s not expected until mid-November, meaning the export ban isn’t going away in the near term.

“India could resume exports once prices drop, but it will take time,” said Shah. “Until India resumes exports, supplies will remain limited in Asia.”

For now, consumers like Kathmandu shopper Pokharel are having to change habits across Asia.

“I went to buy 5 kilogrammes of onions for our five-member family but ended up buying only 3 kilogrammes due to higher prices,” said Afroza Mimi, a Dhaka housewife on a shopping expedition the day after India imposed the export ban.

“They (traders) are selling old stock nearly at double the price. This is crazy.”

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17-year-old boy apprehended in Delhi for stalking girls on Instagram.

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A 17-year-old boy has been apprehended by the Delhi Police for allegedly stalking a number of minor girls on Instagram and threatening to publish their private photos.

According to the police, a father filed a complaint after becoming concerned that his 14-year-old daughter’s Instagram photos might have been shared with others.

According to the police, both the father and the daughter were counseled. The girl had shared her private photos and videos with a friend on instagram, and now the friend is pressurizing her to have more inappropriate conversations and send more of her private photos, the police said.

A case was filed based on the statement made by the minor girl.

Source: IndianExpress

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Arvind Kejriwal and Bhagwant Mann inaugurates 400 Mohalla Clinic in Amritsar

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Image: Bhagwant Mann (Twitter)

Friday, Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated 400 Mohalla Clinics in Amritsar’s Putlighar.
Amritsar now has 400 mohalla clinics, bringing the total in the state to 500.

As a chief guest at the inauguration, Delhi CM Kejriwal expressed his happiness and noted that Punjab’s clinics were constructed in ten months rather than the five years it took to construct them in Delhi. He added that a lot of districts and villages will get new clinics.

“I am very happy and thankful for the citizens for believing in us. My little brother, Mann, has fulfilled another guarantee,” he said.

Kejriwal said, “Being a full state, Punjab suffers no interference from the central government unlike Delhi,” in an attack on the central government. Every village will receive more of these clinics in the coming years.”

Source: ANI

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Another Hit & Run Case: Car dragged scooty rider for 300 meters, one died

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Once again a case of hit, run, and drag has come to the fore in Delhi. One person died in this accident while the other is still admitted to the hospital. Delhi Police has arrested a total of 5 accused including the driver by registering a case under the section of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. CCTV footage of this incident has also come to the fore.

On the intervening night of Thursday-Friday, at around 3 pm, two PCR vans of Keshavpuram police station were patrolling the area. Only then the police personnel riding in it saw that a Tata Zest car hit an Activa scooty at Prerna Chowk in Kanhaiya Nagar area. Two youths were sitting on this scooty. One of the young men jumped in the air and fell on the roof of the car. At the same time, another young man jumped and got stuck between the windscreen and the bonnet of the car, while the scooty got stuck in the bumper below.

After this accident, instead of stopping the car, the accused fled from the spot, but the policemen posted in PCR caught all the 5 people in the car after chasing them for about 350 meters. During this, the policemen called the control room and informed them about the accident. The team that reached the spot took both the injured to the hospital, where one was declared brought dead by the doctors. The condition of the other youth remains critical.

Source: Aajtak

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