The government on Friday said it will buy 40,000 tonnes of pulses from farmers to create a buffer stock for controlling prices, which have soared above Rs200 per kg in the retail markets.
The government proposes to purchase 30,000 tonnes of tur dal and 10,000 tonnes of urad dal from farmers at market rates, minister of state for agriculture Sanjeev Kumar Balyan told reporters on Friday.
"We have decided to create a buffer stock of 40,000 tonnes of tur and urad dals. Through Nafed, we will buy 30,000 tonnes of tur and 10,000 tonnes of urad at market rates from farmers," Balyan said, adding the Nafed would start procuring kharif pulses from the next month onwards.
He said the government will sell imported pulses through Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy's Safal outlets at Rs120-130 per kg in Delhi, in order to give relief to common man, adding that Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have also started selling imported lentils.
Retail prices of tur dal have risen above Rs200 per kg in most parts of the country, from Rs85 per kg a year ago.
Similarly, urad dal prices rose to nearly Rs190 per kg from Rs100 per kg in the year-ago period.
Earlier this week, an inter-ministerial group headed by finance minister Arun Jaitley decided to create a buffer stock of pulses preferably through imports. The group also decided to use the Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) to boost supply and check prices.
Balyan said the government through state-owned MMTC has imported 5,000 tonnes of tur. It will soon finalise contracts for importing an additional 2,000 tonnes of tur.
The minister said there is shortage of pulses in the global market and prices too have increased.
"The price increase in the domestic market is mainly due to shortage in production owing to poor rainfall. Private traders are taking advantage of this situation," he said.
The prices of pulses have risen unabated for the past few months due to a fall in domestic output by about 2 million tonnes to 17.20 million tonnes in 2014-15 crop year (July-June) owing to deficient monsoon and unseasonal rains.