Odisha govt to procure 10,000 tons of pulses

Bhubaneswar: In a first, Odisha government will procure 10,000 tons of pulses from open market to meet the demand as local traders have stopped imports of pulses and wheat products.

“The State government, through supply corporation, will procure 10,000 tons of pulses from other states to ensure that the consumers did not face trouble.

“There will be no subsidy on pulses, but the consumers can easily avail them,” Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare secretary M S Padhi said.

Stating that the pulses consignment will be received within 15 days, Padhi said the government will float a tender for the supply of 10,000 tons of different varieties of pulses.

Since this is for the first time the government is going to procure pulses, Padhi said consumers can get the commodity from different PDS outlets across the state.

He said the government was forced to take this decision as the traders association refused to budge from their demand of lifting VAT at the rate of 5 per cent on pulses, wheat and wheat products.

The association welcomed the government’s effort to maintain supply chain, but expressed unhappiness over the manner in which state has decided to procure the commodities.

“In a democratic set up, we had put forth just one demand. Instead of considering it sympathetically, the government decided to import dal and wheat from other states,” Federation of All Odisha Traders’ Associations Secretary Sudhakar Panda said.

About 2,500 traders had stopped procuring pulses, wheat and wheat products from other states from yesterday as the government refused to withdraw VAT on these food items. About 90 per cent of state’s dal and wheat requirement is imported from outside.

The traders in Odisha used to procure 2,500 tons of pulses and 3,000 tons of wheat and wheat products everyday from other states, Panda said.

India imports about 3-4 million tonnes of pulses annually to meet domestic demand. The country produces about 19 million tonnes of pulses.