In trying to prevent a repetition of last year's sky-rocketing prices of onions and pulses, Union Food and Consumer Affairs Ministry is taking steps to prepare import plans and also set up buffer stocks of these items.
In a bid to control pulses prices, Centre has released considerable quantities of tur and urad from buffer stocks for retail sale at subsidised rate of Rs.120/kg in Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, a source said.
Ministry has been also taking steps to intervene in the market on time so that consumers are not affected by price rise.
Centre has built a buffer of 50,000 tonnes by way of domestic procurement.
Government is also likely to procure one lakh tonnes of chana and masoor dal.
Apart from these steps, Centre has also empowered the states to impose stock limits on the pulses to ensure easy availability, the source added.
Pulses prices have seen increase because of a fall in domestic production, largely owing to drought and scanty rainfall.
Kendriya Bhandar and Mother Dairy's retail chain Safal have been directed to sell tur and urad at subsidised rates via their retail outlets in the national capital.
Sources said the Centre has released 2,000 tonnes of tur or arhar dal to the Andhra Pradesh government while Telangana too has been given 2,000 tonnes of tur dal from the buffer stock.
In case of Tamil Nadu, the state government has been sanctioned 5,000 tonnes of urad dal against the demand of 10,000 tonnes.
Sources said the Centre has contracted to import 26,000 tonnes of tur and urad so far this fiscal.
The government has also started imports through state-run public sector undertaking Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation on time to augment domestic supplies so that the prices do not escalate, the source said.
Sources said the Centre has procured 2,300 tonnes of onions directly from farmers this year so far to build buffer stocks.
The buffer stock of onions is being created using the Rs.900-crore Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF), sources said.
Meanwhile, union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan will be travelling to various parts of the country, including Patna and Nagpur, in connection with the completion of two years of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government and highlight his ministry's "good work".
Paswan is going to Patna on Tuesday, May 17, and among official engagements will inaugurate an exhibition highlighting the achievements of his ministry there, the source said.
He will also travel to Ranchi, Lucknow and northeastern state of Mizoram during the next fortnight.
The union food minister will address a conference of state food ministers in Delhi on May 21.