Pulses stocks rot in major ports as rates shoot up

Lakhs of tonnes of pulses, sugar worth Rs 1,600 cr lying unclaimed

Pulses stocks rot in major ports as rates shoot up


Lakhs of tonnes of pulses, as also sugar worth Rs 1,600 crore, has been lying unclaimed at major ports since long. And it is not clear if they are any longer fit for human consumption. If only they had been released in the market on time could they have helped keep the lid on prices. As much as 6.19 lakh tonnes of imported pulses and raw sugar are lying at a number of ports, as the PSUs concerned have not lifted the quantities assigned to them or for want of quality-clearing inspectors, government sources said.

Asked if pulses and sugar stocks are rotting at major ports, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said: “I don’t know.” Worried about the pile-up of commodities at a time when the government is under attack both inside and outside Parliament for the high prices of pulses, which have risen over 40 per cent in the last one month, Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar is pushing the ministries concerned to take immediate action.

“At least 1.36 lakh tonnes of pulses and 4.83 lakh tonnes of raw sugar imported from countries like Myanmar are lying at various major ports for the past two months at Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Kandla and Kochi,” an official said. Imported pulses include tur, moong, urad, red lentil, yellow peas, dun peas and chick peas, while sugar is in raw form, the official said. “The Cabinet Secretary has been apprised of the situation. On July 22 he asked the Shipping Ministry to take stock of the situation,” the official said. PSUs like MMTC, PEC and cooperative Nafed are possibly among those which have failed to lift the stock and it is yet to be verified whether the same is fit for human consumption or not, another official added.

“The Shipping Ministry may decide to auction the commodities as section 62 of the Major Ports Trust Act, 1963, provides for auctioning of stock if the ministries/PSUs/ authorities concerned fail to lift the same,” the official said. When contacted, Consumer Affairs Ministry Secretary Y S Bhave said: “We are not aware of the development. None of the PSUs have reported about any stock lying at ports.”

About 77,000 tonnes of pulses have been contracted for the Public Distribution System so far, of which 34,000 tonnes have been supplied to four states and there is no question of any stock lying at any ports, he said. About 1.74 lakh tonnes of pulses imported by PSUs are currently lying at major ports, he added.  

Beyond common man’s reach

*As much as 6.19 lakh tonnes of tur, moong, urad, red lentil, yellow peas, dun peas and chick peas, while sugar is in raw form

* PSUs have not lifted the quantities for want of quality clearing inspectors

* Sharad Pawar feigns ignorance about the issue

* Cabinet Secretary asks the shipping ministry to take stock of the situation

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