People reeling under the skyrocketing prices of essential commodities can blame the state government. The reason: its failure to extend the stock limit validity. Prices of tur dal and urad dal, two of the most commonly consumed pulses, have significantly increased.
Deciding stock limit is important as it makes it easier for the authorities to prevent hoarding. The stock limit on pulses under the Essential Commodities Act 1955 lapsed on September 30, 2015. As a result, the prices of pulse started rising from October 1.
While tur dal which was priced around Rs138 per kg last month, is now at an all-time high of Rs190, said a trader. Similarly, urad dal, which cost the consumers Rs121 per kg in September, is now hovering between Rs170 to Rs175 a kg.
Experts blamed this on commodity trading and the state government’s failure to revive the stock limit. “A Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) study said forward or future trading of essential commodities is a significant reason for food inflation. We have been demanding that the trading of essential food items be stopped,” said Shirish Deshpande, chairman of Mumbai Grahak Panchayat.
The state government failed to revive the stock limit for pulses even after receiving three circulars from the Union government in June and July.
In the first circular dated June 17, Surendra Singh, deputy secretary to the government of India, asked the state chief secretary to revive stock limits and take effective steps against hoarding under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 with respect to pulses, edible oil and oil seeds. Hindustan Times was the first to report about these circulars and the state government’s inaction.
Traders though continued to blame short supply for the increase prices and drought for poor production. “The supply of pulses has been affected because of drought but even prices of imported pulses has increased owing to poor weather conditions in Africa and Burma,” said Mahindra Mange, trader in Agriculture Produce Market Committee (APMC) market, Vashi.