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State govt yet to get ‘cheap’ chana dal promised before Diwali

Chana dal is an important ingredient in snacks made in Maharashtrian households during Diwali

mumbai Updated: Nov 06, 2016 23:38 IST
Surendra P Gangan
Surendra P Gangan
Hindustan Times
cheap chana dal,chana dal,BJP
The dal is expected to reach cooperative stores and fair price shops in the next few days.(HT File Photo)

Days ahead of Diwali, the state had announced that chana dal or bengal gram would be available at Rs70 a kg for the festival. However, even a week after Diwali, the government has not delivered the product.

On October 19, food and civil supplies minister Girish Bapat announced that his department had initiated the process of the procuring 700 metric tonnes (MT) of chana dal for Diwali. Though the central government responded positively, allowing the state to obtain the stock, the procedural delay deprived consumers of cheaper dal. The dal is expected to reach retail stores in Pune, Nashik and Mumbai after a week.

“We received the chana at Rs50 a kg after completing the tendering process just days before Diwali. Most of the milling contractors are in Vidarbha. Transporting the dal to various districts takes days. Adding the cost of milling, transportation and packaging, we plan to sell it for Rs70 a kg,” said an officer.

The officer said the dal is expected to reach cooperative stores and fair price shops in the next few days. He said the non-availability of labour during Diwali delayed the supply. “However, our announcement regarding the supply of dal at a cheaper rate resulted in the rate of dal falling in the open market. The rates have come down to Rs136-Rs146 from Rs160-Rs170 a month ago,” he added.

Chana dal is an important ingredient in snacks made in Maharashtrian households during Diwali. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government — wary of negative reactions from people ahead of the civic polls across Maharashtra — swung into action to contain the soaring prices of the dal ahead of Diwali.

“We made the stock available in parts of Nagpur and Amravati before Diwali. We will supply the dal to the remaining areas in the two districts, as well as Aurangabad from Monday onwards. It will take more than a week for us to supply the dal to Pune, Nashik and Mumbai,” said Mahesh Pathak, principal secretary, food and civil supplies.

The government had also goofed up regarding the supply of tur dal a few month ago when prices soared. The state distributed 700 MT tur dal given by the Centre to retailers at Rs95 a kg, while 7,000 MT procured from the National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited through bidding was sold through rationing shops at Rs103 a kg. “This resulted in poor response to the dal even by the BPL consumers. We were planning to lift 7000 tonnes for four consecutive months, but could not even finish the first consignment of 7000 MT in three months. We have now dropped the idea of procuring more stock,” another officer said.

The state is contemplating using about 3,000 Aarey stalls in Mumbai to sell fresh vegetables and government milk, on the lines of the cooperative milk brand Amul being sold through government stalls. “I have submitted a proposal to the dairy development and fisheries minister Mahadev Jankar. Most of the stalls are currently being utilised to sell non-governement products. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis has also given us the nod. We will think of giving grants to promote the sale,” said Sadabhau Khot, minister of state for agriculture and cooperation.

First Published: Nov 06, 2016 23:38 IST