State govt tough measures d to stem rise in tur prices

The State government has invoked provisions of the Essential Commodities Act to crack down on hoarding of the stock by traders.

The Food and Civil Supplies department, on October 17, issued a notification to amend the Karnataka Essential Commodities Licensing (Amendment) Order, 2015, which imposed an upper limit on stockholdings by wholesale and retail traders of pulses, edible oil and edible oil seeds.

While retail traders are allowed to keep a maximum of five quintals of pulses, edible oil and edible oil seeds, the wholesale dealers may stock 500 quintals of pulses, 400 quintals of edible oil and 1,000 quintals of edible oil seeds. Certain categories like retailers with multiple outlets and large departmental retailers have been exempted.
Prices of tur and other pulses are spiralling for the last many weeks. Now, a kg of superior quality tur costs Rs 205 in Bengaluru and the medium variety sells for not less than Rs 170 a kg. In the past, the prices had not crossed Rs 140 to 150 a kg. Such abnormally high prices had not been witnessed by the State so far, say officers in the Agriculture department.

In Kalaburagi, a quintal of tur in APMC yard was priced about Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,500 for a quintal of tur whole grain. Kalaburagi produces nearly 50 per cent of the State’s total output. Maruti Manpade, a tur farmer from Aland and president, Karnataka Prantha Raitha Sangha, said that the prevailing wholesale price is Rs 18,000 a quintal for first grade tur grain. Last year, the prices were between Rs 4,000 to Rs 4,490. The best production of tur was in 2013-14 - 7.57 lakh tonnes. The arrival of fresh stocks is expected only by December-end.

Two years of continuous drought, coupled with hoarding of the stock by wholesale dealers, is said to be the reason for the present exorbitant prices, said sources in the government.

Manpade said that there were two major wholesale dealers of tur in Karnataka. While one trader in Mumbai, who is purchasing the produce from Karnataka, is exporting it to South Africa, the other is a Bengaluru-based trader who does not sell a kg of tur for less than Rs 200. The selling price last year was Rs 100 a kg. 

Prices of pulses have gone up across the country. The situation is no different in Maharashtra, which sees the highest production in kharif season. The Centre is planning to import certain pulses to contain the price rise and hoarding.

Deficit rainfall during the south-west monsoon period, which ranged from (-) 27 per cent to (-) 49 per cent across the State, is set to pull down the food grain production of kharif season. The target is to produce 101 lakh tonnes, but what is expected is 70 lakh tonnes, a 30 per cent fall.  In 2014-15 too, the State could not meet the food grain target of 135 lakh tonnes. It could produce just 128 lakh tonnes. But in 2013-14, the production exceeded the target by three lakh tonnes.

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