With retail pulses prices shooting up to Rs 187 per kg, the government today said it’s trying hard to contain prices by increasing availability via imports and urged consumers to wait for some time to see results.
In the case of onion, retail prices in the national capital have come down to Rs 40-50 per kg now, from the peak of Rs 80 per kg in August, due to several measures, including curbs on exports and overseas purchase of the kitchen staple, besides improved supply from the fresh kharif crop in growing states.
Replying to a query on rising pulses prices, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “There is a shortfall in production. To address the problem, the government is trying hard to boost supply through imports. The government is fully aware of the situation. Wait for some time.”
Retail prices of tur dal today rose up to Rs 181 per kg – much higher than the cost of chicken – in most parts of the country, as against Rs 85 per kg in the year-ago period, as per the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry.
Similarly, urad dal prices have increased up to Rs 187 per kg from Rs 99 per kg in the said period. Much of the increase was seen in these two dals, while the increase in prices of moong dal and gram were moderate.
To provide relief to Delhi consumers, the state-run Kendriya Bhandar will start selling imported tur dal at its 100 locations here from tomorrow, while sale of the commodity at Mother Dairy’s 300 Safal outlets will begin from this weekend.
Even Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu governments are selling imported tur dal contracted by the state-owned MMTC though many states are yet to start this initiative to bring down prices.
The government through MMTC has contracted to import 5,000 tonnes each of tur and urad dals, of which, 3,250 tonnes of tur dal has already reached Chennai and Mumbai ports and the rest will arrive soon. MMTC has floated another tender for import of 2,000 tonnes of tur dal.
“We are giving imported dals at subsidised rates to states. We have asked state governments to send their requirements. So far, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have lifted imported dals. We hope other states will also come forward,” Consumer Affairs Secretary C Vishwanath said.
Pulses prices have risen unabated for the past few months due to a fall in domestic output by about 2 million tonnes (mt) to 17.20 mt in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) due to deficient monsoon last year and unseasonal rains.
Besides imports, the government has taken several measures to check price rise. It has imposed restrictions on holding of pulses stocks beyond a ceiling and taken action against hoarders and blackmarketeers.