HYDERABAD: There seems to be no respite from the increasing prices of pulses. Despite government taking up various measures, the retail prices of tur dal has further rose to touch `205 per kg, while urad dal is being sold at `215 per kg at the retail market in Hyderabad.
With tur and urad dals being important ingredients in south Indian dishes, all sections of people are feeling the pinch. “This is the first time in the last decade I am seeing this drastic increase in the prices of pulses. Left with no option, we have increased the price of idly from `20 to `25 and reduced the quantity of urad in dosa so that it can be sold at the same price. If the prices of dal go down, we will definitely reduce the price of idly,” M Raghavendra, who has three tiffin centers in the city, said.
The prices of pulses have increased unabated in the last few months due to a fall in domestic output by about 2 million tonnes (mt) to 17.20 mt in 2014-15 crop year owing to deficient monsoon and unseasonal rains. And, despite the government taking several measures, like imports and curbs on hoarding, the prices of these two pulses have failed to come down.
Officials say that panic buying can also be a major reason for further increase in prices. “It’s a known fact that less production is the main reason for dal prices to increase. Panic buying can also be one of the major reason. From the time dal prices started rising, people started buying dal more to save for the future,” A Ramesh, district supply officer, Medak, said.
Proving the same, Arun Gandhi of Spar Super Market said “After the prices of pulses increased, we have seen 50 per cent increase in sales at our super market in Forum Sujana Mall and 10 per cent increase at the Begumpet supermarket. Also, predicting further increase in the price, we are buying pulses before hand. Generally we have one week stock, but now we have stock sufficient for one month,” he said.
An officer on condition of anonymity said “The government should further reduce the stock holding limit of wholesale and retail traders. Now, the wholesalers can hold up to 2000 metric tons of pulses, it should be reduced to around 500 metric tons so that enough pulses are available in the market. This can also bring down the prices.”
B Narasimha, district supply officer, Ranga Reddy, said “Just like onions, the government needs to start selling tur and urad dal at subsidy counters to provide some respite to people. If we can do that then automatically prices will stabilize.”
MK Rathod, district supply officer, Hyderabad said “In the retail market, the price of tur dal is between `195 to 210. We are holding a meeting on Wednesday and will take some decision to provide some relief to the people.”
“To feed the increasing population, we need to increase our production. We already started growing bengal gram, black gram, red gram to meet the growing demand. A new variety of red gram -PRG176, which can grow even in harsh conditions, is also being promoted by us,” V Praveen Rao, Registrar, Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University said.