The retail price of onions, which has been rising alarmingly for over a month, has now touched Rs100 per kg, sending household budgets haywire.
On Monday, the wholesale prices of onions from Nashik in Maharashtra a major production centre, touched Rs60 a kg. Traders in Koyambedu wholesale market recall that the prices of onions from Maharashtra had previously touched Rs70 a kg two years ago.
But unlike other cities like Delhi and Mumbai, there is some solace for Chennai as it gets some stocks from Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Even the onions from Andhra Pradesh are priced at Rs40 a kg in the wholesale market because of demand from other states as well.
The price rise is attributed to poor crops this year coupled with a weak monsoon.
According to the National Horticultural Research and Development Foundation, wholesale onion prices at Lasalgaon in Maharashtra, Asia's biggest bulb market, on Monday fell by Rs3 per kg to Rs45, from Rs 48 per kg last week.
The rates have started softening due to an increase in arrivals after the government restricted exports and decided to boost supply through imports.
But retail prices are still ruling high at up to Rs80 per kg across the country. Prices had peaked to Rs57 per kg on 22 August.
According to consumer affairs ministry data, retail prices on Monday were Rs67/kg in Delhi, Rs61 per kg in Mumbai, Rs50 per kg in Kolkata and Rs47 per kg in Chennai. In Aizawl and Varanasi, onion was retailing as high as Rs80 per kg
Some customers have switched over to using small onions that are cheaper this season. They cost Rs30 a kg in Koyambedu wholesale market.
Imports from Egypt are expected to bring down the price.
The cost of most other vegetables, including beans and carrot, has come down since July.