Govt to import additional 5,000 tons of pulses to control prices

New Delhi :Under pressure to rein in retail prices of pulses that have shot up to Rs 155 per kg, the government today decided to import additional 5,000 tonnes of tur dal to boost domestic availability.

Import of 10,000 tonnes of tur and urad dal is already in the pipeline and the first consignment will reach by September 23, it said.

Barring chana dal, retail prices of all pulses are ruling above Rs 100/kg across the country. The maximum increase in prices has been seen in tur and urad dal.

“In a high-level committee meeting held here today, the government has decided to import an additional 5,000 tonnes of tur dal to increase the availability and control prices of pulses,” Consumer Affairs Secretary C Vishwanth told PTI.

The state-owned MMTC will float the tender in this regard soon, he added.

Meanwhile, the government has directed the MMTC to expedite import of 10,000 tonnes of pulses tendered earlier and requested the state governments to gear up for distribution of imported lentils through retail outlets.

“The Committee has directed the agencies like MMTC, SFAC and NAFED to get in touch with states and also with SAFAL to supply imported dal through retail outlets,” the Consumer Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

Pulses prices are likely to show a declining trend in the coming days on supply of imported dal, it said.

The committee, which reviewed prices of onion, pulses and other essential commodities, discussed about medium and long-term strategy to increase availability of these items and moderate prices.

The government has put in place a weekly monitoring mechanism to keep a close watch on availability of essential commodities and moderating of prices, it added.

Retail prices of pulses have risen unabated in the last few weeks due to fall in domestic output in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) in view of poor monsoon.

According to official data, tur dal prices are ruling highest in Chennai at Rs 145/kg, at Rs 135/kg in Mumbai and Rs 132/kg in Delhi and Kolkata.

Similarly, urad is costing more in Chennai at Rs 125/kg, whereas in Mumbai it is available at Rs 121/kg and at Rs 112/kg in Delhi and at Rs 102/kg in Kolkata.

To curb prices, the government has already imposed stock limits for pulses and state governments have been asked to take action against hoarders. It has suspended future trading in urad and tur and also banned export of pulses.

There is a tight supply of pulses in the country because of fall in domestic production to 17.38 million tonnes (MT) in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from 19.25 MT in the previous crop year, due to poor monsoon.

India imports about four MT of pulses largely through private trade. But this time, the government has started importing pulses after a gap of two years.