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Govt to import 5,000 tonnes of urad to contain prices


New Delhi:  The government today said it is considering importing 5,000 tonnes of urad dal to improve domestic availability and check price rise.

Retail prices of most pulses including tur have breached Rs 100 per kg mark in most parts of the country due to supply crunch in the wake of a decline in domestic production by nearly two million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) on account of unfavourable weather conditions earlier this year.

“From June onwards, generally we see rise in prices of some essential commodities. We have already seen increase in prices of pulses. To boost supply, we are considering import of 5,000 tonnes of urad,” Consumer Affairs Secretary C Viswanath said addressing a meeting of state food ministers on the issue of price rise.

Already, a tender has been floated for import of 5,000 tonnes of tur dal (pigeon peas) and shipment are expected to reach by September, he said.

To ensure adequate supply in the country, the government has banned export of pulses except for kabuli chana and organic pulses and lentils up to 10,000 tonnes, he added.

That apart, state governments are empowered to impose stock holding limits on traders to curb hoarding of the commodity. The stock holding limit order is in place till September, this year, the Secretary added.

The official also said good monsoon and relatively high support prices of pulses compared to other crops is encouraging farmers to sow pulses in more area in this kharif season, which could also help check prices of lentils.

India imports about four million tonnes of pulses, largely through private trade to meet domestic shortfall.

Pulses production is estimated to have fallen to 17.38 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) from 19.25 million tonnes in the previous crop year due to deficient monsoon last year and unseasonal rains and hailstorms during March-April this year.

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