NEW DELHI: The Centre on Tuesday decided to raise the import limit on tur dal to 4 lakh tonne for private traders till October and asked cooperative Nafed to offload 2 lakh tonne of the lentil in the open market, a move aimed at checking possible price rise.
A decision in this regard was taken at the inter-ministerial committee meeting chaired by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Secretaries of Food, Consumer Affairs and Commerce Ministries as well as senior officials of Nafed and DGFT also attended the meeting.
"There are only media reports about price rise in tur dal. Otherwise, the government has enough buffer stock of pulses including tur dal. The committee has taken 2-3 key decisions in this regard," Paswan told reporters after the meeting.
After a detailed discussion on the availability of pulses in the country, Paswan said the government has decided to increase the import limit on tur dal for private traders from the existing 2 lakh tonne to 4 lakh tonne till October.
"It means about 4 lakh tonne tur dal will be imported by October 30. Already, the commerce ministry has given permission to import 2 lakh tonne tur dal and licences will be issued in the next few days," he said.
The government in 2017 had imposed 2 lakh tonne (LT) limit on the import of pulses to protect the interest of local farmers.
That apart, the committee has allowed import of 1.75 lakh tonne tur dal from Mozambique on a bilateral basis, he added.
Also, Paswan said the committee has decided that about 2 lakh tonne tur dal from the buffer stock would be released in the open market to check prices. Cooperative Nafed will be asked to sell the tur dal in the open market at no-profit no-loss basis.
"These measures will help increase the availability of tur dal and check price rise, which has been created psychologically assuming production might fall on likely delay in monsoon rains," the minister said.
The government will keep a close watch on hoarders and black marketers of pulses, and will not allow anyone to cheat consumers, he said.
The government has a buffer stock of 39 lakh tonne of pulses, of which tur dal is about 7.5 lakh tonne, he added.
Paswan said the country's pulses output is estimated to be down at 232 lakh tonne in the 2018-19 crop year (July-June) from 254.2 lakh tonne in the previous year.
Barring tur dal, the production of chana, moong, masoor and urad remained higher. Tur dal production is estimated to be lower at 35 lakh tonnes in 2018-19 crop year from 42.9 lakh tonne in the previous year, he added. PTI LUX MKJ MR MR