Hyderabad: The no-stock-limits and deregulation of cereal, edible oils, oil seeds, pulses, onions and potatoes announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her third tranche of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package on Friday, was welcomed by traders in Telangana.
Speaking with Telangana Today, several trade organisations that deal with agricultural commodities, however, said the Union government should have come up with these measures in March itself.
Sohanlal Joshi, General Secretary of Hyderabad Dal Mill Merchants Association, said the 150-member strong merchants group has been struggling to supply dal even during lockdown. “We have been bringing dal from Maharashtra and Karnataka with special permission from Telangana Civil Supplies Department and we are allowed to keep a stock for 15 days,” he said. Joshi says that the no-stock-limit declared by the Centre will help improve supplies helping those who have storage capacities up to 50 tonne.
Joshi says that the Essential Commodities Act doesn’t apply to them except in times of national calamities and they have been allowed to maintain fair amount of stock as such. “However, we have been put through several problems during lockdown while transporting pulses particularly by the civil authorities. But we have not resorted to black marketing and supplied dal to every retailer,” he said and added that opening up of the market of agricultural commodities by deregulating the market might see an influx of big players taking away the mostly community based localised business.
Representatives of Telangana Oil Traders and Trade Association said the deregulation of agricultural commodities will improve supply as restrictions on movement between States might cease. Karodimal Aggarwal, General Secretary of the Association, pointed out that more the supply of edible oil and oil seeds, the less will be the price that will ultimately benefit the consumer.
“We supplied oil even during lockdown taking several risks. As there is not much of oil seeds grown in Telangana except cotton, we depend more on Indonesian palm oil that comes to Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and we crush the pods here in Telangana. We get groundnut oil from Maharashtra, sunflower from Indonesia and Malaysia. If the market is deregulated, then there will be better supply leading to stable oil prices,” he said. However, the oil merchants believe that edible oil prices will not come down considerably till Telangana pumps up its own oil seed production.
On the other hand, Telangana Rice Millers Association President G Nagendra says that the stock limit on rice millers was lifted several years ago and that there was no ceiling on the quantity they can process at their mills. Former President of Rice Millers Association, Miryalaguda, Manchukonda Venkateswarlu said that millers will face the problem of storage even as the Centre deregulates the market.
“We have been urging the State government to give us subsidy so that we can enhance existing capacity of the mills or construct new mills. Now that the economy is opening up, we hope that movement of rice will be be freed. The government must let us market the commodity wherever there is demand. At present, we are sending par boiled rice to Kerala and Tamil Nadu only,” he said. He also demanded that the government lift the rule of milling of 70 per cent of fine variety and 30 per cent of coarse variety on millers as there is no market for coarse variety in other countries due to lockdown.
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