New Delhi: The soaring price of onions seems to have hit hard everyone in Delhi, where the price has simply doubled in retail markets.
"Sir, you can take a samosa for free but please don't ask for onion salad," Ramanand, who runs a roadside eatery in Jungpura in south Delhi, tells customers.
To those who are surprised at the offer, Ramanand gives the logic: "Sir, onions used to cost Rs.20-25 a kilo till last week. Today I bought it for Rs.50, which makes it difficult to give it away as salad."
Onion prices have indeed shot up in recent weeks, recording as much as a 50 percent surge in wholesale markets compared to the rates in early July, according to the Delhi Agricultural Marketing Board.
"There is a real shortage due to crop damage in the last rabi season following unseasonal rain and hail in April-May, the crop maturing time," said Ajit Shah, president of the Horticulture Exporters Association.
According to the marketing board, onion rates as on July 31 were Rs.1,125-3,250 per quintal against Rs.750-2,063 per quintal on July 2 in Delhi's wholesale market at Azadpur Mandi.
Delhiites are naturally not happy.
"Rising prices are a matter of serious concern for us. It takes a toll on the monthly budget," Nishita Mishra, 27, a human resource professional with a private company, told IANS.
"We have cut down on our onion usage. While we are still using it for cooking, which is practically impossible without onions, we have started taking tomatoes and other vegetables in salad," she added.
Shubhra, 19, a Delhi University student, said the prices had affected her "directly and indirectly".
"I have bought a kilo of onions for Rs.55, which last week cost only Rs.30. It burns a hole in my monthly spending, ultimately leaving less for me to spend as my pocket money," a visibly upset Shubhra told IANS.
Traders say Delhiites cannot expect to get relief anytime soon.
Asked about the steps being taken to check the rising prices, officials at the Delhi Agricultural marketing Board declined to comment.