The Centre today said action against hoarders and blackmarketeers has been stepped up and the state governments have seized over 5,800 tonnes of pulses in five states over the last few months.
This is basically aimed at boosting supply and bringing down prices of tur dal that have shot up to Rs 200 per kg.
The Cabinet Secretary today reviewed the prices, production, procurement and availability of pulses in a meeting with secretaries of Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce and other ministries.
The meeting also reviewed the action taken by state governments to prevent hoarding of pulses, besides discussing about progress of sale of imported pulses at subsidised rates in Delhi and other states.
“We had directed state governments to enforce the Essential Commodities Act more stringently. As a result, some state governments have carried out surprised inspections and seized large quantities of pulses,” Consumer Affairs Secretary C Vishwanath told PTI after the meeting.
According to the Consumer Affairs Ministry, over 5,800 tonnes of pulses have been seized in five states in the last few months.
Of the entire amount, 2,549 tonnes have been seized from Telangana, 2,295 tonnes from Madhya Pradesh, 600 tonnes from Andhra Pradesh, 360 tonnes from Karnataka and 10 quintals from Maharashtra, the ministry’s data showed.
“Raids are being carried out even today at places like Mysore and Gulbarga in Karnataka and also in Tamil Nadu. These measures have started showing results,” the official said.
Stating that the Centre is closely monitoring the steps being taken against hoarders by state governments, the official said, “All these measures are expected to improve supply of pulses and moderate prices.”
Besides de-hoarding measures, state governments have started withdrawing stock holding limit exemptions given to pulse importers, exporters, licensed food processors and large departmental retailers, following the central government’s direction.
Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have already issued orders in this regard, another Consumer Affairs Ministry official said.
On sale of imported pulses, the Secretary said the Centre has fully operationalised sale of imported tur dal at a subsidised rate of Rs 120 per kg in nearly 500 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy’s Safal outlets in Delhi.
The Centre is keen to supply imported pulses to state governments and has sought their requirements. So far, only Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have indicated their requirements of imported pulses.
“We have again written to other state governments to indicate their requirement of imported pulses for retail distribution in their states,” he said.
The state-owned MMTC has already imported 5,000 tonnes of tur and has floated revised tenders for import of 2,000 tonnes of chickpeas.
According to experts, arrival of fresh kharif crop of urad, tur and masoor dal from the next month would help ease pressure on prices.
As per government data, the prices of tur (arhar) dal are ruling as high as Rs 200 per kg in the retail market compared with 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.
The Centre has taken several steps to control skyrocketing prices, including creating 40,000 tonnes of buffer stocks and improving domestic supply through imports and imposition of stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licensed food processors, importers and exports.