CHENNAI: About 15 tonnes of tur dal were on Sunday sold at the rate of Rs 110 per kg on the first day of the subsidised sale by the State government’s cooperative stores. Nearly five lakh people enthusiastically queued up in shops in Chennai, Tiruchy, Madurai and Coimbatore since they could save up to Rs 100, compared to the open market rate of the tur dal.
The move by the government is expected to pressure traders to cut the price of tur dal.
To ration sales, officials restricted the sale to only 1 kg per person. “In the open market, tur dal is sold at Rs 200. Here, I was able to save Rs 90. If they remove the restriction, it will be better,” said Bhagiyalakshmi, who made the purchase in a cooperative shop at Kodambakkam. But officials said the 1 kg restriction was to benefit maximum number of people and prevent traders from reselling the dal at a higher price. “It was aimed at benefiting more people. Each day, we plan to sell 15 tonnes over the next 30 days,” said a senior Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation Limited official.
The officials hope that it will indirectly prompt traders to lower the prices of tur dhal. Of the total 15 tonnes, Chennai and Tiruchy accounted for 5 tonnes each and Coimbatore and Madurai 2.5 tonnes each.
Of the 91 co-operative stores and Amudham outlets through which the dhal was in sold, 56 are in Chennai, 14 in Tiruchy, 11 in Madurai and 10 in Coimbatore. The dhal was sold in half-kg and one-kg packs at Rs 55 and Rs 110, respectively. The current tur dhal market price varies between Rs 180 and Rs 220 per kg.
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu Dhal Manufacturers Association has decided to sell imported tur dhal at Rs 130-135 per kg. Soon, officials expect the retail market rate to come down to Rs 140 per kg. Besides, family card holders will continue to get dhal varieties at a subsidised cost of Rs 30 per kg under the PDS “The regularity of cooking toor dal at our home was reduced due to the price rise. I hope to increase the intake of toor dal in our meals,” said Priya, a homemaker.