The spike in the prices of onions has sent the city of Visakhapatnam into a frenzy. Friday saw commoners storm the Narasimha Nagar rythu bazaar and hurl stones at the gates in a bid to urge the market officials to open them. Even the barricades set up to control the crowd failed in putting a stop to the chaos.
The market officials claim that the rythu bazaars ordinarily have a sufficient quantity of onions to fulfill the demand in Visakhapatnam. 13 rythu bazaars around the city are supplied close to 25 metric tonnes of the crop on a daily basis. But as the onion rates have risen to Rs. 110 per kg everywhere else in the city, the public, with a demand of 150 metric tonnes, prefer to buy the Rs. 25 per kg subsidised onions that the rythu bazaars provide.
The rythu bazaars are open daily from 7 am to 10 am and again, from 4 pm to 7 pm. But, as per reports, people wait outside the gates from as early as 3.30 am and the queues tend to get as long as 1 km.
The price hike has led to stampede-like situations in other parts of the state as well. On Thursday morning, chaos unfurled at the Cheepurupalli and Parvathipuram rythu bazaars as people burst through the police barricades to get their hands on onions. This year, the whole nation has been suffering from an onion shortage as a delayed monsoon and then, heavy rainfall during the harvest season, ruined the onion yield. A hike in the demand of onions and the profits of merchants and middlemen has been observed but the farmers continue to get very little for their crop.