Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee reportedly assured on Saturday that the issue of lifting of the ban on onion exports would be decided next week.

The issue would be discussed in detail at the union cabinet meeting next Tuesday and a suitable decision shall be taken, Indian media reported quoting an official.

Mr. Mukherjee’s assurance came during a meeting with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in Mumbai, the official from the chief minister’s office said.

Onion farmers have demanded that the recent ban imposed on onion exports should be lifted. They have been on strike in the state since the past eight days, Mr. Mukherjee was informed, according to reports.

Onion continued to be pricier in the retail market of the capital Dhaka, despite the declining prices at the wholesale level, traders said.

They also said some ‘unscrupulous’ businessmen started hoarding onion to make a windfall taking advantage of the recent Indian ban on onion exports.

They demanded the government intervention fearing another hike of onion prices creating an artificial supply shortage by the unscrupulous businessmen before Eid-ul-Azha, the Muslims’ festival.

At the retail level, the local variety of onion was selling between BDT 40 and BDT 44 per kg and the imported Indian variety between BDT 42 to BDT 45 per kg last week at different kitchen markets in Dhaka.

Local onion was selling at BDT 38-42 per kg and the Indian variety at BDT 32-35 per kg in the previous week.

BBN/SSR/AD-18Sept11-9:58 am (BST)