Rising Onion Prices Tempt Highway Robbers in India


NEW DELHI— On Saturday night, Mintu Chottelal, 30, a mini truck driver and his helper, Rinku Gujjar, 19, were driving along the Delhi-Jaipur Highway on their way from the town of Nagore in Rajasthan to the town of Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. Suddenly a minivan came to a halt in front of them, three men jumped off the vehicle, overpowered Mr. Chottelal and Mr. Gujjar, and drove away with their loot.

They did not get far. About an hour later, Rajasthan police chased them down and recovered the truck, which carried 9000 kilograms of onions.

“I have never heard of anything like this before,” Bhawani Singh, a police officer at the Shahpura police station about 50 miles from Jaipur, the capital of Rajasthan, said in a phone interview, “but onion prices are so high, it makes sense,” he said.

The three onion robbers managed to escape and are still absconding, according to Ram Kishore, a Sub-Inspector at the Shahpura Police station, where the driver of the truck had lodged a complaint.

At the prevailing onion prices, the stash would be worth anywhere between five to seven hundred thousand rupees (between $7779 and $10880).

According to official figures released in July this year, the price of the onions has risen more than 100 percent from June last year. Last week as the capital got busy with Independence Day celebrations, the price of onion hit 80 rupees per kilogram ($1.25), in some parts of the country, spawning speculations that it would cross the 100 rupee-mark….

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