Traders’ body opposes raids on dal godowns

Bhubaneswar: Protesting a series of raids on dal godowns in past couple of days, Odisha Traders’ Association on Monday demanded review of Odisha Specified Foodstuffs (Stock Holding Limit) Order, 2010 keeping in view on the market demand.

A delegation of the Association met Food Supply and Consumer Welfare minister Sanjay Dasburma in this connection at the State Secretariat in the state capital.

“As the order was made five years ago, it needs to be revised. The traders need to be allowed to stock more quantity of foodstuffs,” said Association secretary Sudhakar Panda.

According to Odisha Specified Foodstuffs (Stock Holding Limit) Order, 2010, a stockist can at best hold 750 quintal of pulses at one time.

Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the minister said the Association urged for changes in the stock limits by amending the 2010 order.

“Besides, the Association also suggested some of the important measures such as a bi-monthly review meeting among the consumer activists, the traders and the government to formulate a strategic plan to deal with the frequent hike in the price of essential commodities and make a declaration on the price and volume of stock of these commodities to sensitize the consumers”, he added.

Talking about the stock review, Dasburma said as per rules, the traders have to put up a board and mention the volume of stock and the existing price of essential commodities.

“During the ongoing raid on several godowns and stores, we have found that the some retailers, dealers and wholesalers have not put up their board displaying the stock and price of essential commodities. We have categorically told them to abide by the directives of the department in letter and spirit and put up the display board within two days by October 28,” the minister informed.

Stating that the meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere, Panda said the meeting discussed about six major issues.

“As decided in the meeting, the government will re-examine the 2010 order in next two weeks and fix the stock limit of the essential commodities taking the interest of the consumers of the state into consideration. The Association also agreed to the directive of the government on putting up stock declaration board from October 28,” Panda added.

Apart from this, the meeting decided that the state government would thoroughly examine and verify the stock of dal it has detained during the ongoing raid on several godowns and stores and allow for its immediate release to the market for the consumers if there is nothing wrong about the stock, he said.

He further said that the Association also urged the government to lift ban on sale of Khesari dal in Odisha since most of the neighbouring states have allowed its consumption.

Last, but not the least, the Association demanded withdrawal of 5% additional VAT on pulses by the state government.

“We urged the government to take a decision to this effect as 24 states have already withdrawn VAT from pulses in view of the steep price hike. The government has assured us to sincerely consider our demands,” Panda added.