Before Diwali, Maharashtra govt rushes to procure extra stock of pulses

  • Surendra P Gangan, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Oct 20, 2016 00:23 IST

The state government has requested the Centre to provide 700 metric tonnes of chana dal to tide over shortage ahead of Diwali. The government has also announced the dal would be sold for Rs70 a kg once the stock is made available.

Chana dal is an important ingredient in Diwali snacks. The BJP-led government is wary that the shortage may lead to negative reactions from people ahead of civic polls across the state. The state’s efforts to control prices by way of a law have suffered a setback, with the Centre refusing to give its nod for stricter punishment for those resorting to profiteering.

The state on Wednesday claimed the stock will help stabilize rising prices of pulses. “After we raised the demand on October 17, we have received a positive response from the Centre and we expect the procurement in the next few days. According to the directives from the Centre, it will be sold for Rs70 a kg,” said Girish Bapat, food and civil supplies minister. “The stock of the tur dal we received from the Centre has been distributed through retailers and cooperative consumer societies, while the stock of 7000 metric tonnes we procured from open market is being distributed through the public distribution system.”

The department has also announced ‘give it up’ scheme for ration card holders, appealing consumers to enable the government to pass on the benefits to poor families. “By linking the Aadhar numbers with ration cards, we could save Rs465 crore wasted in leakages and pilferage of food grains distributed through rations shops. The amount will be utilized to bring 1.50 crore more people, who can avail of wheat and rice for Rs2 a kg and Rs3,” Bapat said.

The minister said that the government machinery conducted 389 raids and seized 72,600kg of stock, worth Rs2.61 crore.

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