In a bid to curb the rising prices of arhar or tur dal, the Centre has taken steps to increase imports and also release lentils from its buffer stock into the open market. Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan called a meeting with secretaries from the Agriculture, Commerce, Food and Consumer Affairs on Tuesday evening to discuss the concerns over a “temporary rise in price,” he said.

The production of arhar or tur dal is expected to reach 35 lakh tonnes in 2018-19, a reduction from the bumper crop of 42.9 lakh tonnes in the previous year.

It was decided to double the import limit on arhar dal for private traders from the current two lakh tonnes to four lakh tonnes until October 2019, said Mr. Paswan. The two lakh tonne cap on imports had originally been imposed in 2017 to protect Indian farmers growing pulses.

The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (NAFED), which procures pulses for the government, has also been asked to offload an additional two lakh tonnes of arhar dal from its buffer stock of 7.5 lakh tonnes.

The Centre is keeping a close watch on hoarders and black marketers, added Mr. Paswan.

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