VIJAYAWADA: With the price of onions skyrocketing in the markets and to take action against traders hoarding stocks illegally, Vigilance and Enforcement (V&E) officials conducted surprise raids at various places across the State on Wednesday and Thursday.
On Wednesday, the officials inspected 70 shops and issued notices to 47 traders after irregularities such as illegal hoarding of onions and evasion of the agricultural market fee (AMF) were found. The officials further seized over 600 quintals of onion worth Rs 27 lakh, collected Rs 2.45 lakh marketing fee and Rs 85,000 as penalty from the traders.
The seized stocks were later handed over to marketing department officials concerned for further action.
Marketing officials filed cases against 10 traders under Section 17 C of AP Agricultural Produce & Livestock Markets Act, 1966 for illegal hoarding onions without any valid licences.
The central government has imposed a stock limit of onions for wholesaler 50 metric tonnes (MT) and retailers 10 MT till November 31. During the inspections, it was noticed that some of the dealers did not have a valid agriculture market committee licence, trade licence and certification of weights from the Legal Metrology department.
“As many as 37 onion traders were slapped a fine for hoarding and other 10 for not paying the AMF. Several traders were found to be not maintaining stock registers, sale bills, evading payment of agriculture market cess and having excess stock,” said V&E Director-General KV Rajendranath Reddy.
The traders purchase onions from Kurnool and Maharastra. Officials said some of the traders were sitting on the stocks to create artificial scarcity in the markets. “Criminal action will be taken against the traders if they were found to be illegally hoarding onions and other commodities,” a vigilance official warned. Similarly, Krishna district Vigilance officials raided a wholesale market in Gollapudi and seized 125 bags of onion stored at a warehouse.