Pulses touch Rs 210/kg; 5,800 tonnes seized from hoarders

Pulses touch Rs 210/kg; 5,800 tonnes seized from hoarders

 Over 5,800 tonnes of pulses have been seized in five states during raids conducted on hoarders even as the prices continue to rise and touched Rs 210 per kg.

In view of skyrocketing rates of pulses, the Cabinet Secretary today discussed many factors pertaining to prices, production, procurement and availability during a meeting with secretaries of Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce and other ministries.

The action taken by state governments to prevent hoarding of pulses was also reviewed at the meeting, besides discussing the progress on sale of imported pulses at subsidised rates in Delhi and other states.

"We had directed state governments to enforce the Essential Commodities Act more stringently. As a result, some state governments have carried out surprised inspections and seized large quantities of pulses," Consumer Affairs Secretary C Vishwanath told PTI after the meeting.

According to the Consumer Affairs Ministry, over 5,800 tonnes of pulses have been seized in five states in the last few months. Around 2,546 tonnes have been seized from Telangana, 2,295 tonnes from Madhya Pradesh, 600 tonnes from Andhra Pradesh, 360 tonnes from Karnataka and 1 tonne from Maharashtra.

The Rajasthan government has also intensified enforcement of stock limits. Similar action against hoarding is also being taken in other states, an official statement said.

"Raids are being carried out even today at places like Mysore and Gulbarga in Karnataka and also in Tamil Nadu," another Consumer Affairs Ministry official said.

Continuing an upward trend, tur prices today rose further to Rs 210 per kg in the retail markets. Urad rates have risen up to Rs 198/kg, moong Rs 135, masoor Rs 120 and gram (chana) Rs 84 per kg. Prices have shot up due to fall in output by two million tonnes in the 2014-15 on deficient and untimely rains.

To control skyrocketing prices, the Centre has taken several measures such as creating a buffer stock of 40,000 tonnes, sale of imported pulses at cheaper rates and imposition of stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licenced food processors, importers and exporters.

"All of these measures are expected to improve supply position and arrival of pulses in the market thereby moderating the prices of pulses," an official statement said.

Besides de-hoarding steps, the state governments have started withdrawing exemption on stock holding limit given to pulse importers, exporters, licensed food processors and large departmental retailers, following the Centre's order.

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu have already issued orders in this regard.

On sale of imported pulses, the Secretary said the Centre has fully operationalised sale of imported tur dal at a subsidised rate of Rs 120 per kg in nearly 500 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy's Safal outlets in Delhi.

The Centre is keen to supply imported pulses to state governments and has sought their requirements. So far, only Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have indicated their requirements of imported pulses.

"We have again written to other state governments to indicate their requirement of imported pulses for retail distribution in their states," he said.

The state-owned MMTC has already imported 5,000 tonnes of tur and has floated revised tenders for import of 2,000 tonnes of chickpeas.

According to experts, arrival of fresh kharif crop of urad, tur and masoor dal from the next month would help ease pressure on prices.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Affairs Ministry data showed that tur dal prices today increased to Rs 210 per kg, from Rs 181 per kg in the last week.

The maximum increase in tur dal was seen in South India. Tur dal is available at Rs 210 per kg in Puducherry, Rs 205 in Bangalore and Rs 200 in Chennai.

In Mumbai, tur dal costs Rs 178 per kg while in Delhi, the dal is priced at Rs 163 per kg, the data showed.

Similarly, urad dal prices have also shot up sharply, causing discomfort to consumers, especially in South India, where it is consumed largely for preparing food items like idli and dosa.

As per the ministry data, retail prices of urad dal are within the striking distance of Rs 200 per kg as the commodity currently costs Rs 198 per kg, against Rs 187 last week.

Retail prices of urad dal are ruling at a maximum in Mysore at Rs 198 per kg, followed by Rs 190 in Chennai, Rs 187 in Mangaluru and Rs 180 in Puducherry.

In Mumbai and Delhi, urad is available in the range of Rs 152-166 per kg in the retail markets, the data showed.

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