Govt to import 3k tonnes pulses, asks states to curb hoarding

New Delhi

As pulses prices touched Rs 200 per kg, the Centre on Monday decided to import additional 3,000 tonnes of lentils to control rising rates and asked the state governments to take strict action against hoarders.

The Cabinet Secretary reviewed the prices, production, procurement and availability of pulses in a meeting with secretaries of Consumer Affairs, Agriculture, Commerce and other ministries. A video conference was also held with the Chief Secretaries of all the states.

Meanwhile, speaking on spike in inflation, RBI governor Raghuram Rajan called for more supply side measures to temper prices.

“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,” an official statement said.

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

In the review meeting, Cabinet Secretary asked the state governments to “carryout surprise inspections and raids to prevent hoarding and black-marketing of pulses”.

Continuing an upward trend, the prices of tur (arhar) dal on Monday shot up to Rs 200 per kg in the retail markets compared with Rs 85 per kg a year-ago. Prices have risen sharply as output dropped by two million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year on deficient monsoon and unseasonal rains.

The Centre has taken several steps measures to control skyrocketing prices including creating of 40,000 tonnes of buffer stocks and improving domestic supply through imports and imposition of stock limits on traders as well as departmental stores, licenced food processors, importers and exports.

In Delhi, the Centre is selling imported tur dal at Rs 120 per kg through retail outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy’s Safal. More than 200 quintals of pulses have been sold in last four days through their 100 outlets.

Cabinet Secretary directed that all the 400 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Safal in Delhi should start distributing imported tur dal immediately.

Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government decided to sell 500 tonnes of imported tur, allotted by the Centre, at Rs 110 a kg through 91 cooperative outlets from November 1.

The Centre informed the state governments about its decision to create buffer stock of pulses through procurement and directed them to be ready with their preparatory work for procurement of Kharif pulses from next month.

While reviewing the imposition of stock limits and the enforcement measures taken by States, the Cabinet Secretary informed states about the amendment issued by the Centre to enable them to impose stock limits on exporters, large food processing units and big departmental retailers. PTI

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