Government helpless against hoarding of pulses in foreign ports

Government helpless against hoarding of pulses in foreign ports
Union Food Minister Ramvilas Paswan on Tuesday accepted that private importers had hoarded pulses at foreign ports with the intention to release the items for getting maximum profits.

However, the minister intervening in an unfinished debate on price rise in the Lok Sabha expressed the government’s helplessness in taking action against importers due to absence of laws to punish hoarding abroad. BJD MP Bharthari Mehtab, participating in  reinitiated discussion under Rule 193 on price rise which was first raised by P Karunakaran on December 17,  drew the attention of the Lower House about reports that private importers had delayed shipment of consignment of pulses after buying them abroad such as in Singapore till “atmosphere was conducive for making money”. To this, Paswan stood up and accepted that “there is truth in what you are saying. We are working on how to tackle this.”

He said that his ministry had sought response of the commerce ministry as import and export fall in their domain. However, he said the commerce ministry was not in position to do much as there are no ways to find out hoarding abroad.

The minister also sought suggestions from members on how to curb price rise of food items. Unwilling to accept Paswan’s ‘can’t do anything’ approach, Mehtab broadly recalled that consumer affairs department can prosecute such firms through price control. He suggested that the department can demand from private importers prices at which they had bought dal in bulk and correspondingly check price at which they selling.

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