The Centre has released an additional 6 lakh tonnes of sugar for the period April-May for sale in the open market, over and above the 54 lakh tonnes previously released for the quarter.
The Food Ministry took the crucial poll-time step to avoid a rise in sugar prices after a shortage scare.
“Prices of sugar have been rising recently mainly on account of a perception of shortage. Prices have already come down by Rs 200 a quintal in the physical markets. The futures market could take some days to correct,” the Joint Secretary in the Food Ministry, N. Sanyal, who oversees sugar, told Hindustan Times.
“This action should pull sugar prices down by Rs 50 to 70 a quintal. Prices may have risen because of hoarding,” Rohtash Agarwal, the head of Food Policy Initiatives, a non-profit organisation, told HT.
Sugar price is a sensitive issue, especially during elections. There was a sharp drop in sugar production this year because more areas were diverted to cereals as the government offered higher cereals prices. “We have tried to balance it out,” Sanyal said.
The additional release will bring up the total sugar available for free sale in the market to 60 lakh tonnes during the quarter. Sugar released for the same quarter last year was 50 lakh tonnes.