With the price of chana daal surging, the Maharashtra government has decided to open retail selling centres in Pune, Amravati, Mumbai and Nagpur to provide some relief to consumers. The state government is going to sell around 500 tonnes of daal from these centers, said Mahesh Pathak, principal secretary of food and civil supplies department.
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While 50 tonnes of daal will be sold in Pune, Amaravati and Nagpur, the rest will be sold from retail outlets in Mumbai.
When the state had witnessed a similar crisis over tur daal, the government had implemented a scheme to sell it from retail centres at a subsidised rate.
The price of chana daal spiked after low acreage and heavy rain took a toll on the production of chana this year. An integral part of festive savouries and sweets, the price of chana daal rose to Rs 150 -160 per kg in retail markets in Pune and Mumbai.
To check the rising prices, the state government had asked for nearly 700 tonnes of chana from the central government which, when milled, would yield 500 tonnes of daal.
Pradeep Ghorpade, chief executive officer of India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), said that over the last three years, chana has sold below the Minimum Support Price, which led to migration of chana acreage to other crops. “Owing to the acreage migration to other crops and heavy rain, the output of chana crop has dropped sharply from 9.60 MT in 2013-14 to 7.33 MT in 2015-16,” he said.
Beyond the bad weather, another reason for the steep hike in price is delayed imports from Australia and other countries, said Ghorpade. “As the harvest season in India is around January, and in Russia it’s around December, there is hardly any supply of chana in the market… this has caused the price of chana to spike. The shortage of daal is only temporary and the price is likely to ease up by mid to end November as the first of the imports arrive in India,” he said.
Meanwhile, the steep price hike at the beginning of the festive season has come as a shock to consumers. Shalini Mohite, a homemaker from Rasta Peth, said she had to pay extra for besan, an alternative for chana. “I am scared that the besan might be adulterated so I do not know whether to use it,” she said.