UP agri minister says no pulses being sold at Rs 200/kg; opposition flay remarks

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Lucknow, Jul 9 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Surya Pratap Shahi on Tuesday claimed that pulses are not being sold anywhere for more than Rs 100 per kg, prompting a sharp response from the opposition, who said that the minister himself is unaware of current prices of commodities like wheat flour and pulses.

Shahi was speaking with reporters in Lucknow on Tuesday in connection with a regional consultation programme to be held on July 19 on natural farming and agricultural science.

During this, a journalist asked the government is saying that the production of pulses has increased by 33 per cent, then just a few days ago pulses were sold in this city at Rs 200 per kg.

To this, Shahi said, "There is no pulse, which is being sold at Rs 200 per kg anywhere. You are giving this wrong information. There is no pulse available for more than Rs 100 per kg.'' However, in Lucknow, Tuar ('Arhar') daal is being sold at Rs 160 per kg, Urad daal at Rs 145 per kg and Masoor daal at Rs 110 per kg.

When reporters started asking questions, the minister (Shahi) was seen laughing and his colleague, minister of state Baldev Singh Aulakh, was also seen smiling and whispering something in his ear.

However, he later said, "Look, our job is to increase production. I told you that pulses worth Rs 30,000 crore are still imported every year. Farmer brothers of our country definitely need to become self-sufficient in terms of pulses and oilseed production. We are working in this direction and that is why our production has increased... otherwise pulses would have been even more expensive." Later, when contacted, Shahi told PTI, "Moong daal costs around Rs 100 per kg. Chana daal costs less than that. There are many types of dal. He (the journalist) had asked me the price of daal, I told him. The rate of Chana daal and Moong daal is around Rs 100." Meanwhile, the opposition attacked the government over Shahi's statement and accused the government of being unaware of the pain of the people troubled by rising inflation and said that in the coming elections, the people will make the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) aware of the price of 'wheat flour and pulses'.

Chief spokesperson of the Samajwadi Party Rajendra Chaudhary told PTI, "This statement given by the Agriculture Minister on pulses is a mockery of the people struggling with inflation. In fact, the government itself does not know the price of flour and pulses in the market.

"In the coming elections, the people will make the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party know the price of 'flour and pulses' by voting against it." UP Congress spokesperson Manish Hindvi also flayed the UP Agriculture Minister for his remarks.

"The BJP leaders and ministers are far from ground reality. They do not understand the pain of the common people. They do not realize how much inflation is troubling the common people. The condition of inflation is such that in the house where vegetables are cooked, pulses are not cooked and where pulses are cooked, vegetables are not cooked," he told PTI.

He claimed that in the last 10 years of BJP rule at the Centre, inflation has increased more than three times. Most of the earnings of the poor class are spent on food. Food has become the most expensive in the rule of the BJP. PTI NAV MR