LAHORE - The Utility Stores Corporation (USC) has reduced rates of several types of pulses by Rs 2-5 per kg, while increasing the prices of all mash varieties by Rs 80-113 per kg; hence bringing their rates at par with those in the open market.

Now there is almost no difference between the rates of pulses in the open market and those available at Utility Stores.

The USC officials said that the price of mash (unwashed) increased by Rs 113 per kg: from the previous Rs 145 to Rs 258, while mash whole rate was raised by Rs 87 per kg: from the previous Rs 155 to Rs 242.

The price of mash (unwashed) increased by Rs 80 per kg: from the previous Rs 195 to Rs 275.

Now the rates of all mash varieties have swelled to the level of open market, or have gone even above.

It is interesting to note that the USC kept the rates of all types of mash lentils lower than in the open market by around Rs 100 per kg for a long period of time, because the variety was not available at its stores.

The USC announced reduction in the prices of Daal Chana and Daal Masoor by Rs 2 per kg. It also decreased the price of Daal Moong by Rs 2 per kg. After the reduction, Daal Moong price now stands at Rs 158 per kg, Daal Masoor at Rs 128 per kg and Daal Chana at Rs 120 per kg.

In the open market, the retailers are selling Mash pulse at Rs 275 per kg against Masoor at Rs 140 per kg, Moong at Rs 160 per kg, white Lobia at Rs 120 per kg, while red and black Lobia in the range of Rs 120-130 per kg.

All these rates do not exceed the rates at which pulses are being sold at Utility Stores outlets.

According to the market sources, scarcity of lentils in the open market is the main reason for increasing the prices.

The officials said that despite increase in prices in the open market, Utility Stores did not increase the prices during the last few months.

They said prices of some pulses in the world markets had been under strain due to extensive buying by India.

They added due to untimely rains this year, the gram pulse crop in Pakistan remained slightly below expectations, compared to the previous years, while its price in the world markets, which was $600 per ton two months back, is now $800 per ton.

According to the figures of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), the import of pulses swelled to 569,157 tonnes, worth $350 million, in July-January 2015-16, compared to 367,655 tonnes, worth $224 million, during the same period in the last fiscal year.

The wholesale market dealers claim that retailers are also responsible for overcharging because last month the wholesale market prices of Mash, Masoor and Gram pulses came down to fit in the range of Rs 200-400 per quintal, with Mash available at Rs 17,000 per quintal, Masoor at Rs 15,000 per quintal and gram at Rs 8,000 per quintal; but the retailers did not pass on this relief to the consumers.

In the wholesale market, prices of branded tea packs have dipped following a reduction in the international market, but retailers are selling these packs at old prices. Now the Supreme one kg pack price has come down to Rs 602 per kg from Rs 752.

In the same way, Lipton Yellow Label’s one kg pack is being sold at Rs 856.

In the wholesale market, non-branded tea prices have come down to Rs 560 per kg against Rs 670 per kg, but in the retail market has not passed on this incentive to the people either.