Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami has urged the Central government to lift restrictions on import of yellow and green peas.
In a letter to Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, he said, “I request the Centre to permit import of peas with HSN Codes 07131010 (yellow peas), 07131020 (green peas) and 07131090 (other) through Thoothukudi port for the welfare of dhal and flour milling trade in Tamil Nadu as well as neighbouring States. The lifting of restriction through Thoothukudi will hardly affect the domestic market in Northern States, which are broadly self-sufficient with in-house production of peas.”
In the letter to Union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal, the Chief Minister recalled a public notification issued by the director general of foreign trade imposing a restriction on the import of peas to 1.5 lakh metric tonne for the entire country.
“Due to this restriction, the cost of peas has drastically increased to more than Rs 65 per kg in Tamil Nadu. This ban has detrimentally affected the dal and flour mills operating as MSME units in Tamil Nadu and thereby the livelihood of labourers and others who depend on this trade,” Palaniswami said.
Due to heavy demand for peas to prepare traditional snacks in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Kerala, more than 1,000 micro, small, and medium dal and flour mills function in Tamil Nadu for processing the peas. They provide direct employment opportunity to around 50,000 labourers and indirect employment to 65,000 people.
He added: “The average requirement of peas in Tamil Nadu would be around two lakh metric tonnes, of which maximum of 10,000MT alone are being transported from the northern states.”
The average requirement of peas in Tamil Nadu is around 2 lakh tonnes, of which only 10,000 tonnes were sourced from the northern States, he said. “Moreover, because of the heavy demand for peas in other States, cost of peas transported from northern States after fulfilling their internal demand is very high and can range up to ₹65 per kg.”
Peas were being imported from Australia, Canada, Russia, among others countries, through Thoothukudi at cheaper rates before the Director-General of Foreign Trade imposed a restriction on the import of peas to 1.5 lakh tonnes for the entire country.