By Bijoy Pradhan
The soaring price of wheat and its derivatives has hit consumers hard despite offloading of 30 lakh tonne from the Central pool and Food Corporation of India’s announcement to release an additional four lakh tonne from July 5.
The current price of atta (wheat flour) of standard variety is Rs 32 per kg against Rs 28 a kg a couple of months back. Chakki milled atta available in the city’s market is available for Rs 40-Rs 44 per kg. The prices of wheat derivatives suji and maida too remain abnormally high at Rs 40 and Rs 36 a kg respectively.
Attributing the high price of atta and other wheat products to shortfall in supply of whole grain wheat, general secretary of Odisha Byabasahee Mahasangha Sudhakar Panda said the prices of such commodities are market driven and depend on availability and lifting of wheat auctioned by FCI under open market sale scheme (OMSS).
Although FCI has kept the base price of wheat at Rs 2,150 per quintal for fair average quality (FAQ) and Rs 2,125 per quintal under relaxed specification (URS), the prevailing market price in the state is Rs 2,480 to Rs 2,600 per quintal. There is hardly any difference between the roller flour mill atta and locally milled atta, said owner of a grocery shop in Unit-IX market.While packed atta of locally manufactured units is being sold for Rs 40 a kg, popular brands like Aashirvaad are available for Rs 45 a kg.
Panda said the price of atta could have gone higher but for the gruelling heatwave conditions during April, May and part of June when people mostly preferred the summer staple ‘Pakhala’ over roti. Responding to the Central government’s direction to FCI for offloading another four lakh tonne of wheat to open market through e-auctions to check the inflationary trends in prevailing retail prices, Panda said the agency had announced in February to release 20 lakh tonne of wheat in addition to the 30 lakh tonne announced in January.
The Centre has now decided to release four lakh tonne from July 5. He said the wheat flour prices climbed by around 15 per cent due to shortfall in production following heatwave across the country.
This article has been republished from New Indian Express