The state government has written to the Union Minister of Agriculture Radhamohan Singh about the shortfall of cereals and pulses leading to a sharp increase in prices across Maharashtra.
The commonly eaten “tur dal” (yellow pulse) prices have cross Rs 110 per kg. The steep rise in prices of tur dal from Rs 70 per kg to Rs 110 per kg is due to the shortfall in production by 35 percent.
The state government has also urged the union government to increase the pulses supply to state reckoning it has to import to bridge the gap of demand and supply.
The agriculture minister Eknath Khadse said, “The drought coupled with recurring hail storm has adversely hit the overall food production. And production of pulses have been worst hit due to the climate changes and poor rainfall.”
The worst drought-hit regions of Marathwada and parts of Vidarbha cultivates pulses. But due to severe and prolonged drought and recurring unseasonal rainfall, pulses and cereals like jowar, bajra have been washed out.
The state government indicated that despite drought and hailstorm there is no problem with the overall food grains which is stocked in surplus. However, the area of concern is pulses whose shortfall across state and country is leading to a steep price hike.
The Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, when asked said, “The onset of rains this month will bring a lot of relief in stabilising overall prices of food grains and vegetables. The shortfall of pulse production has affected the prices across the country.” He said, “If monsoons are good and arrive without much delay things will be normal.”
Fadnavis reassured, “There is no reason to panic. There is an adequate food grains stocked. Yes, pulses prices are higher and we understand.” However, the government has also ordered to keep a watch against hoarding of any food grains.
According to sources in the union agriculture ministry, “All the states have requested the centre to find a way out to tackle the spiraling prices of pulses and edible oils.” The “tur dal” which has higher demand as it is consumed in all states accounts for second highest production from Maharashtra.