Even as prices of pulses shoot up, truckers driving consignments on the highways are allegedly pilfering dal. Dal mill owners in Nagpur, one of the three biggest dal mill centres in the state, have been at the receiving end for the past 2-3 months, during which pulses worth over about Rs 2 crore has been stolen, officials said.
The latest incident on Sunday brought to the fore a racket behind the thefts. Imported tur dal brought by a truck for sale to a mill owned by Animesh Agrawal was found to be pilfered. The pilfered dal was found to be worth Rs 20 lakh. A complaint was registered and investigations are on.
Nagpur, which has over 100 dal mills, is one of the three biggest centres for pulses. The other two are Latur and Akola. The annual turnover is in the range of Rs 1,500 crore, according to Nagpur Dal Mill Owner’s Association secretary Rajendra Sharma. Nagpur mainly handles imported pulses, Latur handles the desi variety, and Akola a mixed variety.
“We have been witnessing these threats over the past 2-3 months. Truck drivers and cleaners have been pilfering dal along the way and making up for loss of weight with heavy stones and water cans hidden in trucks. The dal, on weighing, was found to be less by a few quintals. Like this, dal worth Rs 2 crore has been stolen so far,” Sharma told The Indian Express.
“We are observing caution by checking the weight of dal sacks individually, instead of weighing the entire truck,” he added.
Police detained two truck drivers in connection with the latest incident of theft, in which pulses worth over Rs 25 lakh was stolen. “The stolen dal was suspected to have been from 24 different trucks operated by owners from different states. So, we formed teams to investigate these different states,” said police sub-inspector U A Rathod of Kalmana police station.
Ashok Goyal, former Standing Committee chairman of the Nagpur Municipal Corporation and owner of Sonu Monu industries, said, “It’s a massive racket comprising transporters, truck owners, drivers and traders. I have spoken to the chief minister to look into the matter and he has passed orders for a thorough probe.”
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