Madhya Pradesh’s pulse hub, Gadarwara in Narsinghpur district, is now left with only 20 mills out of 80.
Lack of infrastructural support from Centre and state government for promotion of pulse processing in the area besides fall in pulse production over the years resulted in closure of most mills, say members of the Dal Mills and Grade Merchant Association in Gadarwara.
In 1990, there were 80 pulse processing mills.
Out of the 20 mills, only 4 mills process arhar (tuar) dal while 15 units process gram (chana dal).
During its peak, the mills used to supply processed pulses to southern states and states like West Bengal and Maharashtra. Now they are confined to supplying at the local level.
Mill owners unhappy with govt’s order fixing stock storage limit
The mill owners are unhappy with the state government’s order, issued last year, of fixing the stock storage limit in the mills to 2,000 quintals of arhar dal at a time to check spurt in prices of pulses.
“Due to the stock storage limit of 2,000 quintals for arhar dal, the mills are running on an average of only 8-9 hours daily due to which the processing has gone down from 1,000 quintals per day to 200-300 quintals per day,” said Dal Mill and Grade Merchant Association ex-chairman Dhanraj Chouksey.
“It takes one week time to prepare dal from the raw pulses. The government never took steps to set up a special pulse processing zone in Gadarwara nor a government land was demarcated to set up mills here,” he added.
The government has also fixed the stock storage limit of pulses for traders.
Mahesh Malpani, a representative of the pulses traders and pulse processing mill owners in the Krishi Upaj Mandi in Gadarwara, said the stock limit of storage of raw arhar at a time was 500 quintals for a trader.
“Due to this, procurement from the farmers has slowed and is undertaken in different phases instead of bulk procurement,” he said.
The association wants the government to allot vacant land of the Krishi Upaj Mandi Gadarwara to set up mills as only some 25% of the 55 acres of land has been utilised.
Narsinghpur district industry centre general manager PD Banskar said, “An individual is free to set up the pulse processing mills but as of now, there is no government plan to have a special area or zone to set up mills in Gadarwara”.