Sona Masoori price up by Rs 14
Hoarding feared, State orders crackdown
Illegal hoarding of rice is suspected to be the main factor behind the skyrocketing prices of rice in the State.
The price of a kilo of Sona Masoori rice has shot up by Rs 14 in the last 20 days and the government, which apprehends illegal hoarding of rice, has decided to seize excess rice wherever found, and initiate action against the culprits.
Food and Civil Supplies Minister D N Jeevaraj on Monday told reporters that he had directed deputy commissioners of all districts to monitor storage of rice at rice mills, APMC markets and by traders. Action would be initiated against those who are found with rice more than the permitted quantity, he added.
Jeevaraj also said that the State government would appeal to the Centre to ban export of rice to check scarcity. This, and deficit in rainfall in regions including Raichur and Bellary, where Sona Masoori is grown extensively, had resulted in price escalation, he added.
The minister also said that he would urge the chief minister to check supply of rice to neighbouring states like Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.
Traders, however, aren’t amused with the government’s presumption. Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, president, Bangalore Wholesale Foodgrain and Pulses Association said that the government was “targeting traders” to cover up its own limitations.
“Where is the government to address this problem? They (State cabinet) are bothered about their own politics and the bureaucracy is no better. If the government fears that there is hoarding then what was it doing all these days? Why hasn’t it put in place control or monitoring mechanisms? Due to scarcity of water, the government has disallowed irrigation for standing crop, which has further hit crop cultivation. Already paddy production has been hit by 20 per cent,” he said
Lahoti said that the price hike is inevitable. The drought condition in South India is having a cascading effect, he said. Tamil Nadu was facing 50 per cent deficit in rice production, as a result of which it is extensively buying rice from Karnataka.
“If the summer crop is hit, then prices will shoot up further by Rs 3 to Rs 4,” he added.
The price of Sona Masoori, which has been fluctuating between Rs 52 and Rs 53, currently stands at Rs 50, according to Lahoti.