As pulses prices continue to rage, pulses importers offered to supply 1 lakh kg of tur dal per day at Rs 135 a kilogram and asked the government to exempt them from stock holding limits.
When the pulses crisis escalated, the Centre brought importers, exporters, departmental stores and licenced food processors under the stock holding limit to check hoarding even as it looked at imports to boost supplies.
Following up on his inter-ministerial meetings, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today met pulses importers to discuss problems faced by them in getting dals from the global market.
“Pulses prices will come down only if there is smooth availability of imported dals. Therefore, pulses imports and importers should be exempted from the stock holding limit,”
Mumbai-based Indian Pulses and Grains Association Chairman Praveen Dongre told reporters after the meeting.
Stating that importers have already contracted 25 lakh tonnes of pulses for delivery till January and about 2.5 lakh tonnes are lying at ports, he said, “Any kind of restriction will dry the pipeline”.
To give relief to common man from skyrocketing prices of pulses, Dongre said that the Association has offered to supply 1,00,000 kg (100 tonnes) of imported tur dal at Rs 135 per kg on a daily basis to the government agencies.
He further said that the supply of 1,00,000 kg of pulses would continue during the festival season till November-end.
Asked about the government’s response to their demand, Dongre said that the Finance Minister has heard us and has taken note of the importers’ issues.
The Association also mentioned that the average stock holding limit for importers is about 300-350 tonnes in states. Imports would be difficult to undertake with such limits as a vessel carries a minimum of 50,000 tonnes of pulses.
Besides stockholding limits, the Centre has taken several measures such as creating a buffer stock of 40,000 tonnes and sale of imported pulses at cheaper rates to give relief to the common man. The state governments have also seized about 36,000 tonnes of pulses during raids on hoarders.
Pulses prices have risen across the country due to shortfall in domestic output by 2 million tonnes in 2014-15 due to poor rains. There is also global shortage of lentils.
As per the data maintained by the Consumer Affairs Ministry, retail tur prices are still continuing to rule as high as up to Rs. 205/kg, urad at Rs. 198/kg, moong dal at Rs. 130/kg, masoor dal at Rs. 110/kg and gram (chana) at Rs. 85/kg.