APMCs from Maharashtra‘s pulses growing districts have announced an indefinite strike from Tuesday to protest the stock limit imposed on pulses traders by the government. The industry said that the stock limit of 200 tonnes on wholesale traders and the time limit of one month given to them to dispose of excess stocks being held by them will lead to losses and disturb the entire supply chain from the grower to the consumer.
The central government changed the pulse import policy in June by removing it from the restricted list to make imports free. On July 2, it imposed a stock limit on pulses under the Essential Commodities Act, which allows wholesalers to stock 200 tonnes of pulses, and retailers are allowed to stock a maximum of 5 tonnes. Importers too have a limit of keeping only 200 tonnes of pulses that have been imported before May 15.
Traders have claimed that the prices are still ruling around the minimum support levels, while the new Essential Commodities Act allows the government to interfere in trade only during extraordinary situations like war or famine, extraordinary price rise 50% rise in retail prices for non-perishable commodities or during natural calamity of grave nature.
Rupesh Rathi, a pulses processor from Vidarbha said, “The stock limit of 200 tonnes on wholesalers affects the sale of pulses from dal mills adversely. This disturbs the entire supply chain from grower to the consumer.”
Suresh Agarwal, president, All India Dal Millers Association said, “The stock limit of 200 tonnes with not more than 100 tonnes of any one variety of pulses imposed on wholesale traders is highly inadequate to carry on the trade. The time limit of one month given to the traders to sell their current stock, which is above the stock limit, within a month is also not enough. The stock limit should be at least 1000 tonnes to 2000 tonnes, while the time limit given to sell excess stock should be three months.”
In a letter written to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 3, Sudhir Kothari, chairman, the Hinganghat APMC from Wardha district said, “Traders are afraid and did not participate in the trade. Most of the pulses are selling about 10% below the minimum support price (MSP) and this decision will prevent farmers from getting good returns. MSP of chana is Rs 5100/quintal, while in the open market, chana prices are ruling between Rs 4600/quintal to Rs 4700/quintal. Tur prices are ruling around the MSP of Rs 6100/quintal or Rs 100-200/quintal more than the MSP at some places.