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Prices of wheat, atta touch 10-year high, govt steps in –

NEW DELHI: The government on Wednesday approved the sale of 30 lakh tonnes of wheat from its buffer stock in the open market to cool down prices of wheat and atta, which have touched their highest in 10 years. The decision was taken at a meeting of committee of ministers (CoM) on prices of essential commodities chaired by home minister Amit Shah.
The sale of wheat from Food Corporation of India (FCI) stock through e-auction under open market sale scheme (OMSS) will start in next one week and the entire quantity will be offloaded in two months. This will be offered to bulk buyers such as flour millers and traders at minimum price of Rs 2,350 per quintal and the buyers will bear the transport cost. The bidders quoting maximum price would get the wheat.

However, to ensure that only a few don’t get the entire wheat, a maximum quantity of 3,000 tonnes per buyer, per auction will be allowed from one FCI region.
The agency will also offer wheat at a concessional rate of Rs 2,350 per quintal to government entities such as PSUs, cooperatives, federations, Kendriya Bhandar and NAFED without e-auction. They will have to give an undertaking to convert the wheat to atta and offer it to public at an MRP of Rs 29.5 per kg. “This will help reduce the prices in urban areas where these entities have more presence,” said an official.
The CoM took the decision to offload the stock on a day when the average retail price of wheat was Rs 33.3 a kg while atta was selling at Rs 38 per kg.
Data show that FCI’s current wheat stock is around 158 lakh tonnes against the buffer norm of 138 lakh tonnes.