New Delhi: The government has blamed speculators and hoarders for rising sugar prices and warned of possible action against elements who are jacking up prices despite there being no shortage in availability.
It also expects that the steps taken by it from time to time to contain prices may soon produce results.
“Although there is no shortfall of sugar, prices of sugar have been rising recently, mainly on account of a perception of shortage...The role of speculative elements and hoarders in the price rise cannot be ruled out,” Food Ministry chief director (Sugar) R P Bhagria said here late last night.
He said the Centre is considering appropriate action against those who are spreading baseless speculation.
The state governments have been instructed to crack down on hoarding to prevent artificial shortage of sugar, he added.
The government will also ask mills to report the sales of sugar by them on a weekly basis in order to keep a close vigil on the supply in the market, he said.
According to official data, sugar prices across 17 major cities rose in the range of Rs21-28 per kg as on 17 April from that of Rs17.75-Rs23 in the beginning of this sugar season, starting October 2008, due to a shortfall in output.
India’s sugar output is projected to fall to 14.5 million tonnes in the 2008-09 season against 26.4 million tonnes in 2007-08. The country needs 22.5 million tonnes of sugar for its annual domestic consumption.