Centre to import more pulses to check rising prices

RSTV Bureau

Symbolic Image ( PTI )

With the price of pulses having reached over Rs 210 per kg, the Centre has decided to import an additional 3,000 tonnes of lentils to check the inflating rates. The Centre has also asked state governments to take strict action against hoarders.

“It was decided that the government would further import 2,000 tonnes of tur dal and 1,000 tonnes of urad dal and tender will be floated by MMTC immediately,” an official statement said.

State-owned MMTC has already imported 5,000 tonnes of tur and has floated revised tenders for import of 2,000 tonnes of chickpeas.

The Cabinet Secretary reviewed the alarming situation in a meeting with secretaries of Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce and other ministries. The cabinet Secretary also held a video conference with the Chief Secretaries of all states.

In the review meeting, Cabinet Secretary also asked the state governments to “carry out surprise inspections and raids to prevent hoarding and black-marketing of pulses”.

On Tuesday morning, over 5,800 tonnes of pulses were seized in 5 states during surprise raids conducted on hoarders.

State governments were also asked to take subsidised imported pulses from MMTC and supply them in their states to bring down prices.

Continuing the upward trend, the prices of tur (arhar) dal today shot up to Rs 200 per kg in the retail markets as compared to Rs 85 per kg a year-ago. Prices have risen sharply as output dropped by two million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year on deficient monsoon and unseasonal rains.

In Delhi, the Centre is selling imported tur dal at Rs 120 per kg through retail outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy’s Safal. More than 200 quintals of pulses have been sold in last four days through their 100 outlets.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government decided to sell 500 tonnes of imported tur, allotted by the Centre, at Rs 110 a kg through 91 cooperative outlets from November 1.

The state governments were informed about Centre’s decision to create buffer stock of pulses through procurement and directed them to be ready with their preparatory work for procurement of Kharif pulses from next month.

While reviewing the imposition of stock limits and the enforcement measures taken by the states, the Cabinet Secretary informed them about the amendment issued by the Centre to enable them to impose stock limits on exporters, large food processing units and big departmental retailers.

Meanwhile, on Monday, while speaking on rising inflation, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan called for more supply side measures to bring down the prices.

(With inputs from PTI)