In a bid to ensure improved availability of pulses and control rising prices, the Centre has asked stakeholders to mandatorily disclose the stocks of masur (lentil) with immediate effect.

The Department of Consumer Affairs on Wednesday issued an advisory for mandatory stock disclosure of masur with immediate effect. “All the stakeholders should mandatorily disclose their masur stock on the stock disclosure portal (https://fcainfoweb.nic.in/psp) managed by the department every Friday. Any undisclosed stock if found, will be considered as hoarding and suitable action under the Essential Commodities Act would be initiated,” an official release said.

Rohit Kumar Singh, Secretary, Department of Consumer Affairs, during the weekly price review meeting, instructed the department to broad-base lentil buffer procurement. The objective is to procure available stocks at prices around the MSP. This comes at a time when Nafed and NCCF had to suspend their tenders to purchase imported lentils due to exorbitantly high bids received from few suppliers amid hints of cartelisation, the release said.

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Singh said when lentil imports from Canada and tur imports from African countries are taking place, a few players are trying to manipulate the market against the interest of the consumers and the nation. “The government is watching the developments very closely and would initiate stringent measures to get the stock released into the market so that availability of all pulses at reasonable prices in the festival season is ensured,” the statement said.

He said judiciously balancing the interest of the farmers vis-à-vis the consumers is paramount and that the department will not hesitate to initiate stern action against those trying to hurt the interest of Indian consumers and farmers in an unscrupulous manner.

From March this year, the Centre has stepped up its efforts to monitor the stock disclosure of pulses after a shortfall in production of tur and urad due to erratic weather last year. The decline in output has led to a bullish trend in these pulses over the past few months. Further, with deficit rains impacting the acreage in the ongoing kharif 2023 season, the bullish trend in the pulses complex has been sustained and the Government is relying on imports to augment supplies and keep prices under check.

As of September 1, the kharif pulses acreage were down by 8.5 per cent at 119.09 lakh hectares compared with 130.13 lakh hectares in the same period last year.

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