Nearly a week after the Maharashtra government announced that the state would begin procurement of moong to prevent the further downslide in its prices, the purchase operation is yet to commence on the ground level. Prices of moong have fallen below the minimum support price (MSP) levels in the range of Rs 4,400 per quintal to Rs 4,800 per quintal leaving farmers in tears. The MSP of green moong is around Rs 5,225 per\u00a0quintal. According to Hukumchand Kalantry, chairman, Latur Dal Millers Association, although cooperation and marketing minister Subhash Deshmukh has declared that moong would be procured at MSP by government agencies, nothing has commenced so far and no purchase centres have been opened yet in Latur, one of the biggest regions in the state for pulses. Latur has over 125 dal mills and the average turnover exceeds 200 truckloads on a daily basis. Around 2,500 quintals of moong arrived on Tuesday and 5,000 quintals on Wednesday, Kalantry said. Arrivals will pick up from next week as the Ganesh festival will also conclude, he added. If the government does not step in at the right time, there is fear of a further downslide in prices, he said. Action from the government should be quick, he said. Last year, moong was selling for Rs 80 per kg while urad was selling for Rs 110 per kg same time and because of the good rains this season, farmers planted more pulses, he pointed out. Senior officials at Nafed said that it is normal procedure for it to step in when prices fall below the MSP levels and in this case why the procurement has not begun remains to be seen. When contacted, state minister Deshmukh said that he would tap the concerned departments to find out reasons behind the delay. The minister said that he had already issued orders and made it clear that farmers should not sell at distress prices. Deshmukh said that the procurement operations will continue until the prices come up to the MSP level. There has been a 120% rise in acreage of pulses in Maharashtra this season. As against a usual acreage of 21 lakh hectares pulses have been sown on some 25 lakh hectares. The good monsoons and high prices ahead of the planting season coupled with an increase in support price had prompted farmers to bring in more area under pulses this year. Farmers planted pulses in 142 lakh hectares, almost 33% higher than last year. Around 200 lakh tonne of pulses are expected to be produced this season and the country's consumption is around 240 lakh tonnes. Kalantry has also urged the government to impose import duty on pulses to stem a price fall. \u201cThe moong crop is robust this year on higher sown area. As traders are taking a cautious approach in a bearish market, there is no significant buying at present, one of the traders in Latur said.