Traders in the retail market of Pimpri have decided to employ 10 armed security guards to protect their most precious asset – onions. Vishnu Salve, president of the Pimpri Market Committee, said the decision was taken after miscreants allegedly manhandled traders and took away 400 kgs of onion over the weekend.
Onion prices have been rising both in wholesale and retail markets over the last two years. Prices in the wholesale market, which had touched Rs 60 per kg a few weeks back, are now hovering around Rs 48-Rs 50 per kg. Similarly, retail prices, which had touched Rs 75 per kg, have now stabilised to around Rs 50-60 per kg.
According to Salve, the hardest hit by the prices of onions are hoteliers, who are the major buyers from the market which has 180 traders and is visited by over 1 lakh people on an average.
As the onion prices touch a new high, traders have been reporting thefts from their stocks. Matters came to head last week when four traders were manhandled and 400 kgs of onions looted.
“Petty thefts of 5-10 kgs had started since July and was going on continuously. Because of lack of preventive action by authorities, the thieves were emboldened and took to dacoity,” he said.
During the weekend incident, Salve said, traders were beaten up and their stalls vandalised. In protest against the incident, the traders of Pimpri kept the market closed on Monday.
“The police have arrested three people for their alleged involvement in the crime. All three are petty thieves who were to sell off the onions to hotels on a premium,” he said. Salve said traders have now decided to employ 10 armed security guards who will maintain round-the-clock vigil.