Pricey pulses: Corporate cartel ‘hold’ stocks to make windfall profits

When it comes to profiteering, the Indian corporate are non-sparring even in matters of trade in food items. Enquiries have revealed that the current spiral in the prices of pulses is due to corporate majors such as Reliance, Tata, Adani and Mahindra, among other hoarding and holding stock of pulses in view of the predictions of poor monsoon this year. Grain merchants have also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in this regard, but in vain.

Apart from Indian corporate, global giants, dealing in pulses like ETC and Edelweiss, are also not releasing their stock. Talking to Millennium Post, Ramesh Chandra Lahoti, who heads Grain Merchants’ Association of Bengaluru, said, “Given the fact that the prices of pulses has already up by 50 per cent and major corporate are still not releasing their stock in ‘mandis’ indicates that they are waiting to harvest the maximum profit from the situation.”

“If the stocks are not released, the prices will touch the Rs 200 per kg-mark. The price of one quintal gram chana dal has shot up to Rs 4,000 from Rs 3,500. The rate of arhar dal has touched Rs 7,000 per quintal, which was sold at Rs 5,200. This has lead to a rise in its price in the retail market, which is being sold at Rs 105 per kg, while the rate of chana dal has gone up to Rs 85 per kg from 
Rs 70/kg,” a market expert said.

“Apart from weak monsoon factor, the other aspect that led to hoarding is the decision of Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government to lift ban on stock limit,” said Lahoti.

A market source said, “All major players have procured their stock in port-connected cities as well as in their warehouses situated in Myanmar, Africa, Singapore, etc. Edelweiss, which is active in pulses’ trading, has an active stock of over 10 lakh quintal of arhar dal in Mumbai itself.”

Delhi Grain Merchants’ Association president Naresh Gupta said, “The dependency on international market is playing a key role in the price escalation of pulses. The domestic production is decreasing, while the demand is increasing. The government must revisit the policies to deal with the issue.”

According the Indian Institute of Pulses Research (IIPR) director NP Singh, there is no denying the fact that unnatural circumstances have changed the global scenario. 
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