New Delhi: Concerned over price rise in pulses and other commodities, the Centre today asked state governments to take stringent action against hoarders and boost supply in "vulnerable areas" prone to shortages.
The states have also been told to engage civil supplies corporations and cooperatives for distribution of key commodities, besides augmenting storage capacity.
On National Food Security law, the Centre warned that it will stop allocation of additional foodgrains through ration shops to 24 states and UTs if they fail to roll out the scheme by September.
Addressing a meeting of state ministers, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said: "We will not allow unreasonable increase in prices. The state governments should take stringent action to prevent hoarding and black marketing."
"Barring pulses and onion, there is no increase in prices of other commodities. There is no need to worry. There is adequate foodgrain stock to meet domestic demand," he added.
Singling out hoarding as a major factor for the price rise, the Minister suggested that the states should be proactive in taking steps to prevent further spike, especially during the lean period of July-November.
Hoarders and black marketeers normally get active in this period taking advantage of a demand-supply mismatch, he said.
Paswan said while the Centre has recently taken several measures to check price rise in pulses and onion, the state governments should come out with state-level action plans to combat the issue.
In the meeting, the state governments were informed to "focus on vulnerable areas prone to shortages" of key essential items.
They were also asked to boost existing storage capacity and closely monitor availability and prices of essential food items.
Retail prices of pulses have risen more than 60 per cent in the last one year due to fall in domestic production by 2 million tonnes in the 2014-15 crop year (July-June).
Prices of urad, tur and moong have breached Rs 100 per kg-mark in most places. Similarly, onion prices are inching up due to short supply.
To boost domestic supply, the government has issued tender for import of 5,000 tonnes of tur dal and is considering overseas purchase of 5,000 tonnes of urad dal.
It has also put in place a ban on export of pulses except for kabuli chana and has imposed stock limits on traders for holding of pulses stock beyond a prescribed ceiling.
Similarly, the government has extended the stock limit order on onion to check hoarding and raised its export price to USD 425 per tonne.