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Govt asks dal millers to import pulses by Oct 31, industry seeks time till year-end

NEW DELHI: The government has asked dal millers to import pulses by October 31 to ensure availability and keep a check on the domestic prices, but the industry has sought time until the end of the year saying high global prices have delayed signing of contracts.

On Friday, director general of foreign trade Alok Vardhan Chaturvedi met representatives of several millers’ associations to discuss timely import up till the allocated quota for pulses, including tur, moong and urad.

The meeting comes at a time when pulses’ prices are firm on reports that rains in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Maharashtra are expected to reduce output, millers and importers said.

“We will be able to import 1,50,000 tonnes each of moong and urad by October 31. However, it will be a bit difficult to import tur in that time. We have asked the government to extend the deadline to import tur or re-allocate additional quota of 1,00,000 tonnes, “said Suresh Aggarwal, president of the Indore-based All India Dal Mill Association.

According to industry data, of the 4,00,000 tonnes quota for tur, 1,36,000 tonnes have already been imported. Moong and urad imports have been close to 60,000 tonnes, with some ships on way, importers said.

Heavy rain has delayed harvest of urad and moong which could reduce supply, said Pradeep Jindal, convenor for north India, Indian Pulses and Grain Association. He said imports were required because tur harvest would begin only by December.

Processors said poor production of tur in Malawi, Mozambique and Kenya has raised prices and delayed contracts. “It will take 45 days for the ships to arrive at Indian ports from Africa. An extension to import will help ease the availability in the domestic market,” said an importer.

The government has allowed import of 4,00,000 tonnes of tur this year.

Source: Economic Times