NEW DELHI: Amid the government’s efforts to put a check on prices of key kitchen items during the festive season, the trends of prices of these products in recent weeks indicate that it remains a tough challenge. While the average prices of pulses and major edible oils have remained almost same as a month back, the prices of onion and tomatoes have gone up due to increased fuel prices and damage to summer crops. The government data, which compiles the prices reported from over 100 centres, show that the average price of onions as on Sunday increased to Rs 39 a kg compared to Rs 28 a month back. A year back the average price stood at Rs 46 per kg. In some of the urban centres such as Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, the onion prices were in the range of Rs 50-65 per kg on Sunday. In the case of tomatoes, the average price on Sunday was Rs 45 a kg compared to Rs 27 a kg in September and Rs 41 per kg a year back. The data show, tomato was selling at Rs 93 a kg in Kolkata. Sources said the tomato prices may increase further because of recent rains in parts of the country. The consumer affairs ministry on Sunday issued a statement saying that the “prices of onion, tomato and potato were cheaper than last year” and also how it has taken up calibrated and targeted release of onions from the buffer on first-in-first-out principle from August. Usually, the onion prices rise during September-November as stocks deplete and fresh crops start arriving by mid November. The consumer affairs ministry said it started releasing onion from the buffer stock and till October 12, a total of 67,357 tonnes of onion has been released in major markets including Delhi, Kolkata, Lucknow, Patna, Ranchi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai and Chandigarh. “In addition, Grade-B onions (stocks which are below the fair average quality) are disposed of in local markets in Maharashtra, MP and Gujarat. We have offered onions from the buffer at Rs 21 per kg to all the states for lifting from the storage locations,” the ministry said.