Crackdown on hoarders nets 5,800 tonnes of pulses

Crackdown on hoarders nets 5,800 tonnes of pulses

A nationwide crackdown on hoarders of pulses has unearthed 5,800 tonnes of the commodity almost equivalent to the quantity imported by the Modi government to tame rising prices.

As pulses breached the Rs 200 per kg barrier, the Prime Minister’s Office swung into action to check the rising prices. Over the past few days, Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha has been monitoring the pulses situation after directing strict action against hoarders.

The Centre had asked states to re-impose stockholding limits on pulses on Sunday.
At a review meeting chaired by Sinha on Tuesday, states reported recovery of 5,800 tonnes of pulses following raids on exporters, large food processing units as well as large departmental stores.

Raids in Mysuru district alone led to the recovery of 360 tonnes of pulses.

In Madhya Pradesh, 2,295 tonnes of pulses were recovered from raids at 25 locations, while officials in Telangana seized 2546 tonnes of the protein staple after carrying out raids at 1820 locations.

In Andhra Pradesh, officials recovered 600 tonnes of pulse following raids at 56 locations.

Officials blame the current shortage of pulses on the failed monsoon and crop loss due to adverse weather conditions in Myanmar, a key supplier of the commodity to India.

India is the biggest producer of pulses and also the largest consumer. Pulses production had touched a record 19.2 million tonnes in 2013-14, but had slumped to 17.38 million tonnes in 2014-15 owing to poor monsoon.

This year, the production of pulses is estimated at 18.32 million tonnes.  The average annual consumption of pulse in the country is 22 million tonnes.

Every year, about 15 million tonnes of pulses are traded in the international markets with India alone importing 4 to 4.5 million tonnes to bridge the demand supply gap.

At the review meeting on Tuesday, officials apprised the government of the non-availability of arhar dal in the international markets and indicated that the prices may cool down later next month when fresh arrivals of the domestic crop are expected to begin.

The Cabinet Secretariat is learnt to have given directions to create a buffer stock of masoor dal which is available in the international markets.

Continuing an upward trend, arhar prices rose further on Tuesday to Rs 210 per kg in the retail markets. Urad rates have risen up to Rs 198 per kg, moong Rs 135, masoor Rs 120 and gram (chana) Rs 84 per kg.

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