CHANDIGARH/PUNE - After exporting onions to Pakistan, India is now buying it back. Traders are importing onions from across the border to take advantage of the vegetables soaring prices in the domestic market. Onion prices have more than doubled over the past few days and crossed Rs 75 a kg in some wholesale markets. On Monday, the government suspended export of the vegetable until January 15 to cool the prices. The decision was taken at an emergency meeting of the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) in Delhi. The ban came as 12 trucks loaded with onions arrived at the Attari-Wagah border. This was the first import of the vegetable via the land route in 12 years. One truck carries 10-15 tonnes of goods. Some traders put the cost of landed onion at Rs 18-20 per kg. India had exported thousands of tonnes of onion to Pakistan earlier this year when it was trying to recover from catastrophic floods. But India is now facing a severe crunch of the vegetable as unseasonal rains have destroyed the crop in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Foreseeing a poor crop in the country and current high prices, we are importing onion from Pakistan through the land route, said Amritsar-based trader Rajdeep Uppal, who has signed contracts to import over 500 tonnes. The vegetable is priced between Rs 30 and Rs 35 a kg in most wholesale markets in Maharashtra. Onion is selling for Rs 45-50 a kg in Delhi. But in some markets, such as Sangli in Maharashtra, the vegetable touched Rs 75 a kg on Monday. It was priced at Rs 10 a kg in wholesale trade around this time last year. The quantity of onions coming from Bijapur in Karnataka has reduced significantly and this is reflecting in prices, said Tanaji Patil, auction chief at Sangli Agricultural Produce Market Committee. A trader at Azadpur Mandi in Delhi, Asias largest fruit and vegetable wholesale market, said onion prices would continue to firm up until February. Prices will fall when new crop from Pune belt starts, said Naraan Das of Hemant Trading Company. Some traders, however, said the prices could come down sooner if the government withdraws 7pc import duty on onions.