Grappling with high prices of pulses during the ongoing festival season, the Centre on Monday decided to further import another 2,000 tonnes of tur (arhar) and 1,000 tonnes of urad dal. This is in addition to the 5,000 tonnes that has already arrived on government account for distribution to States, and the 2,000 tonnes that has been tendered.
The decision was taken at a meeting convened by Union Cabinet Secretary P.K. Singh with top officials to review the situation on the availability of domestic as well as imported pulses. The huge gap between demand and supply has created a situation when the price of tur has touched Rs. 180 per kg in some retail markets and urad is selling at an average price of Rs. 140 per kg.
On Sunday, the government imposed limitation on the stock of pulses sourced from imports, held by exporters, food processing units as well as large department stores and retailers. The States have been asked to come down heavily on anyone hoarding pulses for speculation and conduct surprise raids to nab culprits.
The Cabinet Secretary urged Kendriya Bhandars and Safal outlets to immediately sell the imported tur at Rs. 120 per kg to consumers.
“It was decided that the government would further import 2,000 tonnes of tur dal and 1,000 tonnes of urad dal and tender will be floated by MMTC immediately,’’ the Department of Food and Consumer Affairs said.
Although the bulk of imports is done by private trade, the government has decided to create a buffer stock of pulses by procuring domestic kharif harvest at the prevailing market rates.
Prices of pulses shot up this season because of an additional shortfall of two million tonnes in pulses production last year owing to drought in some pulses-producing States.