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Centre urged to check fall in red gram prices

T.V. Sivanandan

Multiple reasons cited for the situation


Prices have fallen from Rs. 4,925 a quintal in January to Rs. 3,100 a quintal in April

‘Lift ban on export of pulses and stop import of yellow peas'


GULBARGA: Red gram growers are in the throes of a crisis again as the price of the crop touched a low of Rs. 3,100 a quintal in the retail market.

The price was Rs. 4,925 a quintal in January, when the fresh produce arrived in the market.

“Red gram growers are in deep distress. The State Government should immediately intervene and direct the Red Gram Development Board to intervene and arrest the further slide in the prices and save the farmers,” said Basavaraj Ingin, president of the Karnataka Red Gram Growers' Association.

Of the 17 lakh quintals produced this season, more than 7 lakh quintals was still with the farmers.

Reasons for drop

Traders and farmers' representatives cite multiple reasons for the crash in red gram prices.

Traders point out that there was a glut in the market because of the arrival of produce from Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, as well as the import of red gram and yellow peas.

The farmers' organisations cite the ban imposed on the export of pulses by the Centre and the indifferent attitude of the Union and State governments towards ensuring remunerative prices as the main reasons for the fall in prices.

Measures

In a chat with The Hindu, Mr. Ingin urged the Union Government to pay Rs. 500 as distress sale bonus to farmers, along with the minimum support price (MSP) of Rs. 3,000 fixed for red gram. Meanwhile, the State Government should extend an additional Rs. 500 to the MSP fixed for the crop, he said.

The Centre had announced this amount demanded as distress sale for the produce sold within two months from the harvest, but the deadline to seek this ended on March 31. “This deadline should be extended till May-end,” Mr. Ingin said.

The association president also demanded that the Union Government lift the ban on the export of pulses and stop the import of pulses, especially yellow peas, which was an alternative to red gram, available in markets in north India at a price of around Rs. 20 a kg.

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