With dal prices touching a record Rs 210 per kg, the government on Wednesday went into a fire-fighting mode, raiding hoarders to recover about 36,000 tonnes of pulses, which along with the imports will be pushed into the market to cool prices.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley, who on Wednesday called a meeting of the inter-ministerial group for the second time in a week, blamed the states for not doing enough to crack down on hoarders and black marketeers.
As much as 5,000 tonnes of imported pulses have already arrived and are being distributed to the states and another 3,000 tonnes are on the way, Jaitley added.
In the national capital, imported tur dal (pigeon peas) is being sold at a subsidised rate of Rs 120 per kg at nearly 500 outlets of Kendriya Bhandar and Safal.
“It is a matter of regret that most states are doing nothing to discharge their responsibility in taking action against hoarders. It is only in the last 3-4 days, after the central government amounted pressure, that staggering quantities of 36,000 tonnes of dal have been recovered. Raids are still continuing,” he told reporters after the meeting.
Jaitley warned of penal action against the hoarders even as he expected prices to cool at retail level in the next two-three days after quantity seized in raids as well as those imported are released in the market.
“The raids are still continuing and over the next 2-3 days, more raids which are been conducted by the states, more hoarded quantity is likely to be recovered,” Jaitley said.
“There is time lag between wholesale price easing and retail price easing... therefore, it is slowly then translated into price easing into the market itself,” he said.