Feeling the people's pulse

Almost four months after the prices skyrocketed, Delhi government on Saturday started selling pulses at subsidized rate through Safal outlets (Mother Dairy vegetable outlet). And if the rush at these outlets was any indication, the scheme proved to be a big hit with Delhiites with many outlets claiming they sold several quintals of pulses within a few hours. Allaying fear of shortage, government claimed it has taken necessary steps to deal with the high demand and has arranged 300 quintals of pulses for Safal outlets on the first day. It also claimed sugar would be added to the list soon. The sale of pulses from 288 Safal outlets was kicked off by the chief minister Sheila Dikshit on Saturday morning at Pandara Road. ‘We sold out our stock of several quintals in morning. We started sell again in afternoon after receiving another consignment but it seems this too will be finished by evening,’’ said a Mother Dairy staffer at a Pandara Road outlet. It was same in Vasant Kunj where customers were told to come later since the stock was over by afternoon. ‘‘I was told the shop sold two quintals in the morning. Everyone wants to save money and demand is heavy even in posh colonies. The government should have started this earlier. They allowed hoarders to flourish, prices to go up and then came out with a relief. That obviously works for political mileage,’’ pointed out Amit Agrawal, a resident of Sector-A in Vasant Kunj. At Safal outlets, the pulses are priced less than Rs 10-5 per kg than the market rate. Chana (whole) and chana dal are priced at Rs 34 per kg whereas the market price is Rs 40-45. Rajma (chitra) is Rs 40 per kg against market price of Rs 45-50, moong (dhuli) is Rs 58 per kg against the market price of Rs 68, and Arhar Dal is Rs 75 per kg against Rs 85 in market. Pulses at Safal booths are available from 6am to 2pm and from 4pm to 9pm in one kg packets and there is no restriction on how many packets one can buy. Earlier, government had started the sale of pulses from 80 ration shops, but it did not receive good response. ‘‘This time we will ensure that there is no shortage,’’ claimed a senior official of food and civil supply department. Food and civil supplies minister Haroon Yusuf claimed that the department is also trying to provide sugar to people at affordable price.

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