Group of officers to monitor hoarding of pulses, food items

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New Delhi, July 19 (IANS) The central government has set up a group of officers from various enforcement agencies for regular monitoring and exchange of information on hoarding of pulses and other food items.

In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said: “Speculation, cartelisation, blackmarketing or hoarding also put pressure on prices.”

About the prices of pulses, the minister said there has been shortfall in productivity this year owing to adverse weather conditions.

He said normal and regular monitoring and coordinated action of the government will help moderate the prices.

Total import of pulses during 2015-16 fiscal has been 57.97 lakh tonnes.

Paswan said against a domestic production of 17-19 million tonnes of pulses, the demand was much larger and the deficit was met through imports, primarily under private trade.

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In the ensuing year, the government will import more pulses to meet the demand.

Prices of pulses have soared up to Rs 200 per kg in retail due to drop in domestic production.

The minister also informed parliament that storage capacity of 816.24 lakh tonnes is available for food grain under the central pool as against the actual stocks of 495.95 lakh tonnes.

Paswan said for 2015-16 fiscal, the budgetary allocation for construction of godowns was Rs 80 crore.

The government has approved a roadmap for the construction of silos with a total capacity of 100 lakh tonnes across the country in a phased manner by 2019-20, Paswan said.

The silos will be constructed by the Food Corporation of India and other state agencies in the Public Private Partnership mode.

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