New Delhi, Sep 25 (IANS) Prohibited pulses such as peas have joined the list of items being smuggled into the country from Nepal and Bangladesh, and these are flooding the Indian market in large quantities.
To hold down consumer prices and ensure remunerative prices to farmers, the government has restricted pulses imports till October end. Only 1.5 lakh tonnes of pea imports are allowed annually.
However, smuggled pea from Nepal and Bangladesh has pulled down its domestic prices from Rs 5,700 per quintal last month to Rs 5,300-5,400 per quintal now. At one point, the rates went down to Rs 5,000-5,100 per quintal. This month pea is trading at Rs 300-400 per quintal.
A trader from Kolkata blamed this onslaught of cheaper pea on Canada from where Bangladesh is importing peas, which are then flooded illegally into the Indian market.
Acording to the Canadian Grain Commission website data, Bangladesh’s pea imports have seen a 337.7 per cent increase year-on-year from 1,51,186 tonnes in August-July 2018 to 6,61,780 tonnes this year.
“Likewise, pea imports from Bangladesh into India have seen a more than 300 per cent spurt this year against last year,” said Suresh Agrawal, chief of the All India Dal Mill Association (AIDMA), an umbrella organisation of the pulse processors in the country.
“If this smuggling isn’t checked, the consumers may get pulses and gram flour cheaper during the festivals, but both the traders and farmers will suffer despite an import prohibition,” said another trader.