Bhubaneswar: In a bid to arrest the rising prices of pulses in Odisha, the Food and Supplies department is mulling purchase of 5,000 tonne of pulses from the Centre to sell the commodity to consumers in the State.
In a telephonic interview to OTV, Madhusudan Padhi, Secretary of the Food and Supplies department, said, “We are planning to ask for 5,000 tonnes of pulses from the Centre, which has asked States to specify their requirements. But no formal decision has been taken yet on this.”
Asked about media reports on the Centre’s directive to the State to restrict prices of pulses within Rs 120 per kg, Padhi replied, “We have not received any communiqué telling us in detail the types of pulses for which the prices will be kept under Rs 120/kg. However, the Centre has sent a letter to the States saying that it has procured 50,000 tonne pulses from the country and imported 26,000 tonnes from abroad, which will be distributed to the people via the State governments. The department was asked to specify its requirements.”
Padhi further stated, “The pulses will be bought in raw form from the Centre; milling and packaging will be done by the State government.”
The State requires 4-5 lakh tonnes of pulses annually out of which 3 lakh tonnes is consumed as dal whereas the rest of the quantity is used for different pulse-related food items. People in the State consume around 1.5 lakh tonne arhar, Padhi informed.
Welcoming the Centre government’s move, Sudhakar Panda, General Secretary, Odisha Byabasai Mahasangh, said, “Be it the State government or the Centre, if things are managed properly, the price of pulses should not cross Rs 120/kg.”
“If the Centre is actually supplying arhar and biri pulses at Rs 66 and Rs 82/kg, respectively, the state should buy enough quantity of them,” he added.
Mamata Das, a consumer, said, “Undoubtedly, the rise in price of pulses, a day-to-day necessity, is a burden. If the rate goes up, it will be a burden to middle class and economically weaker sections of the society.”