MMTC to import 15,000 tonne pulses

Mumbai: MMTC Ltd has invited global bids for import of 15,000 tonnes of pulses to meet the domestic supply shortfall. MMTC has proposed to import 5,000 tonnes each of urad, tur and green moong by February 2007, an official of the state-owned trading company said.

MMTC plans to deliver around 3,000 tonnes each of urad, tur and moong at Mumbai while 1,000 tonnes each would be delivered at Kolkata and Chennai ports.

MMTC has been authorised by the government to import pulses after customs duty was brought down to zero as part of steps to rein in the rising prices of essential commodities.

The government had recently extended duty-free import of pulses by four months till August 2007 from April earlier. Import of pulses was allowed in order to meet the gap created due to lower output and higher domestic demand.

The tender document has fixed the last date for submission of bids as December 19, as notified in the company's Web site on December 8.

India, the world's largest producer and consumer of pulses, is doubling imports due to a shortage of about four million tonnes on account of a poor harvest in 2005-06, industry officials said.

The country normally imports 1.5-2 million tonnes of pulses a year from several countries, but would now have to buy as much as four million tonnes to tide over the current shortage, trade sources said.