The Central government has taken several steps to control the prices of several varieties of dal (pulses) including ‘tur’, ‘urad’, ‘moong’ and ‘chana’. One such measure is to provide ‘urad’ and ‘tur’ dal to consumers at cheaper rates. However, traders dealing in pulses consider it an unsatisfactory move.
Traders say that in the coming days the prices of pulses will come down but to boost their availability in the domestic market, import of ‘tur’ dal is mandatory. The All India Dal Mills Association said unless the Central government releases the buffer stock of ‘tur’ dal in the market or issues licenses for its import, the rising prices of pulses can’t be controlled as traders have very few stocks of tur dal available with them. Also, the harvesting of the new pulse crop has been delayed by two months.
In Delhi-NCR consumers pay nearly between Rs 120 and Rs 140 for a kg of ‘tur’ dal, Rs 130 to Rs 150 per kg for ‘urad’ dal and Rs 120 to Rs 150 per kg for ‘moong’ dal. According to the website of the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, the retail price of ‘tur’ dal per kg on Sunday was between Rs 75 to Rs 125, ‘urad’ dal from Rs 70 to Rs 126 while ‘moong’ dal prices varied from Rs 80 to Rs 120 per kg.
Suresh Agarwal, President of All India Dal Mills Association, said providing pulses to the people at cheaper rates will help curb their prices only to an extent but will not make much of a dent in the prices.
The prices of pulses will be checked only if the government sells the stock of tur dal available with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) in the market or issues licenses to facilitate import of ‘tur’ dal, Agarwal added.
He said this year the Union government has fixed the import quota at four lakh tonnes of tur dal but the licenses for its import have not been issued yet.
NAFED Managing Director Sanjeev Kumar Chadha said there is a buffer stock of eight lakh tonnes of ‘tur’ dal and of this only three to four lakh tonnes would be used. The decision will ultimately depend on the Union government, he added.
Experts on the pulses market say that the arrival of the new crop of ‘tur’ dal has started and the government has recently allowed the import of 1.5 lakh tonnes of ‘urad’ dal. It is possible that licenses might be issued for ‘tur’ dal imports too.
According to the first advance production estimate of the crop for 2020-21 released by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, the production of ‘tur’ dal during the kharif season has been estimated to be nearly 40.4 lakh tonnes while last year it was 38.3 lakh tonne.