Some bad news in store for food hoarders. The Delhi government has received an in-principle approval from the Centre to make hoarding of vegetables a non-bailable offence.
The Delhi government had asked the Centre to make offences under the Essential Commodities Act non-bailable in order to crack down on hoarders and people who divert food grains and use domestic LPG cylinders for commercial purposes more effectively, sources said.
HT had on Friday reported that hoarding may soon be made a non-bailable offence.
The move, officials believed, would act as a deterrent. Offenders are currently able to procure bail easily.
Those who divert food grains, misuse domestic LPG cylinders and hoard onions and potatoes to sell them at a higher price later will be targeted.
“The Lieutenant Governor had raised this issue. The Centre has agreed to amend the Essential Commodities Act under which any offence of hoarding will become non-bailable and attract stricter punishment too,” said a senior Delhi government official.
The Centre had on Wednesday taken the extreme step of bringing onions and potatoes under the Essential Commodities Act, 1995, which allows states to impose stock holding limits on the vegetables.
The decision was taken by the Centre that feared hoarding had played a major role jacking up the prices.
After the Centre’s decision, the Delhi government also decided to fix stock limits to crack down on hoarders.
“We will soon impose a stock limit on onions and potatoes for wholesalers as well as retailers,” said a senior Delhi government official.
To keep prices in check, onions and potatoes are being sold at more than 200 locations through government mobile vans at Rs. 20 per kg and Rs. 18 per kg. Besides, the government has started sale of onions and potatoes at Rs. 20 per kg and Rs. 18 per kg at 40-odd government premises.
The number of such outlets will be increased to 300 in the coming days. The Lieutenant Governor had directed the development commissioner to increase the sale of onions and potatoes through mobile vans and government premises.