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Cargo flight with 82 tons of onion arrives from Pakistan

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Staff Reporter :
An air cargo carrying first consignment of onions from Karachi of Pakistan  reached Dhaka on Wednesday evening.
The Azerbaijan's air cargo "Silkway West Airlines" carrying 82 tonnes of onion landed at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) around 7:15pm, said Group Captain Abu Sayeed Mehboob Khan, Director of the HSIA.
But the pre-plan first consignment of onion by S Alam Group from Egypt did not reach Dhaka till Wednesday midnight, the Commerce Ministry sources said.
The Trading Corporation of Bangladesh is scheduled to  importing onion from Turkey, S Alam Group from Egypt and several other companies from Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates, they said.
Biman Bangladesh Airlines will waive its cargo handling charge for any airlines that will carry imported onion for the sake of public interest.
The civil aviation Ministry on Wednesday disclose the decision in a meeting at the secretariat with Civil Aviation Secretary Mohibul Haque in the chair.
"Biman charges TK 18 per kg as cargo handling services for carrying perishable imported goods by any airlines. We have decided to waive the charge in case of onion import for public interest," Biman said in a release.
The waiving of cargo charge came into effect from yesterday (Wednesday) and will continue as long as onions are imported through air cargo.
The ministry will provide all-out support to the onion importers in this regard to keep the onion price stable in the market, said the release.
The government recently decided to import around 50,000 metric tons of onion by air freighter to control price hike of onion.
Meanwhile, India may keep a ban on onion exports until February, officials said.
Indian government officials said that onion prices have risen in the country's domestic markets due to the crops damaged by flood.
The neighboring countries like Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have to find other sources to fulfill their demand due to India's expanded ban on onion export.
Onion producers and government thought that the ban would be lifted by the middle of November anticipating higher supplies from the summer crop.
Despite the export ban enacted in September to keep domestic supply inside India, prices have surged after rain and floods in October and November.
A senior government official of the Indian Department of Consumer Affairs has said that their country will think about resuming exports once prices come down. Right now it is not possible.
"We are optimistic that in January prices will reach the comfortable level, say less then 20 rupees per kg, then we can allow exports," he said.
But India's ministry of commerce, which enacted the ban at the request of the consumer affairs department, did not immediately respond to media request on how long the export ban would last.
Since India's ban, onion prices have surged in south Asia and forcing leading buyers such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to import the onion from Myanmar, Egypt, Turkey and China.

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