A day after Rahul Gandhi derided Prime Minister as “Arhar Modi”, Congress on Friday stepped up attack on the government on the issue alleging that the pulses “crisis” is a “man made scam” of Rs 2.5 lakh crore in which common man was “robbed” of by profiteers, hoarders and black marketers.
Party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala demanded that the Prime Minister must answer and take “decisive action” against those who “fleeced” the ordinary citizen in the last 15 months.
“People of India have paid 150 per cent to 200 per cent extra for pulses alone during 15 months of Modi government (April, 2015 to July, 2016). This comes to over Rs 2,50,000 crore for this period. It is a man made crisis of great magnitude and proportion under the very nose of Modi government …covert and overt support of the Modi government,” Surjewala said.
“This day light robbery is clearly discernible when one compares the MSP/import price of pulses (even after adding Rs 5 per kg of Processing Fee + Rs 10 per kg of Transportation Charges + Rs 5 per kg of Profit) as against the actual sale price to ordinary consumer”, Surjewala said.
Noting that the MSP of pulses as also imported pulses was in the range of Rs 40 to Rs 50, he said that this clearly showed that price of domestically produced pulses or imported pulses for the common man cannot be more than Rs 60/65 per kg by any stretch of imagination even after adding ‘processing fee’, transportation charges’ as also ‘profit margin’.
“As against this, price of pulses has been ranging between Rs 130 to Rs 200 per kg since April, 2015 till on Friday, July, 2016. Hence, it is clear that the average price of pulses has been in the range of Rs 150 per kg in the last 15 months.
Thus, profiteering of Rs 85/90 per kg (Rs 150 per kg of average price minus Rs 60/65 per kg of final sale price) is writ large.”, he alleged.
He said when multiplied by 23 million tonne (2.30 crore tonne) of annual consumption of pulses, this figure comes to Rs 2,50,000 crore for a 15 months period between April, 2015 to July, 2016.
He alleged that “long windows” of ‘no stock limit’ in big states of Gujarat and Maharashtra ruled by the BJP were used by hoarders and black marketeers to push the prices of pulses at an insurmountable high of Rs 150 to Rs 200 per kg.
Elaborating the “long windows”, he said restriction on stock limits on pulses were lifted by Gujarat government on September 30, 2013, then headed by Narendra Modi as Chief Minister. On September 27, 2013, UPA government decided to extend the validity of restriction on stocking of pulses, edible oils and edible oil seeds for a further one year (September 30, 2013 to September 30, 2014).
“Gujarat government headed by Modi, however, refused to extend the order beyond 30.09.2013 despite a specific recommendation by Director, Food & Civil Supplies, Gandhinagar. This is apparent from the copy of documents available under RTI,” he said.