New Delhi: With prices of pulses spiralling again on supply crunch, the Centre has asked states to impose stock holding limits for traders on all varieties of pulses in order to curb hoarding.
"Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have stock limits on selected pulses. So, we have requested them to impose stock restrictions on all kinds of pulses for effective control of hoarding and prices," a senior Food Ministry official told PTI.
Similarly, Uttarkhand, West Bengal and North Eastern region are yet to put such limits.
Imposed under the Essential Commodities Act, the stock limits on pulses traders have been in place for over more than a year now.
However, despite Madhya Pradesh being a major producer of chana (gram), the state government has not imposed stock limit on chana traders even as retail prices have been on rise.
More than 30 percent of the country's total chana production comes from MP and the state has imposed stock limits only traders of tur, urad and masoor dal.
Similarly, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have imposed on chana and not other pulses.
At present, urad is available at Rs 185/kg, tur at Rs 165/kg , moong at 124/kg, masoor dal at Rs 105/kg and gram at Rs 85/kg in most retail markets, as per the government data.
Retail pulses prices across the country have started rising again now on tight supply-demand situation and the government has started offloading lentils from its buffer stock of 50,000 tonnes to improve availability.
States have been requested to immediately place their requirement for making allotment of tur and urad dals for retail distribution through their channels.
Pulses prices are under pressure due to fall in domestic production on account of back-to-back drought.
The government is also initiating procurement of rabi pulses and has targeted to procure around 1,00,000 tonnes of chana and masoor to build the buffer stocks further.
To curb price rise in chana futures, NCDEA has restricted traders' participation by raising desposit money, called margin, on both buyers and sellers.
As per the agriculture ministry's second estimate, pulses production is estimated at 17.33 million tonnes in 2015-16 crop year (July-June), marginally higher than the previous year's production of 17.15 MT.
India is the world's largest producer of pulses, but its domestic demand outstrips production. The shortfall is met through imports, which rose to 5.79 million tonnes in 2015-16 fiscal from 4.58 million tonnes in the previous year.