New Delhi: In a bid to check hoarding as well as contain edible oil prices, the Centre on Thursday asked state governments to gather details about stocks of edible oils and oilseeds from traders, millers, refiners and other stockists.

The Union Consumer Affairs Ministry has asked the state governments to issue a directive in this regard under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955.

“Recently, despite the sudden reduction in the import duty (of edible oils), a sudden spurt in prices of edible oils/ oilseeds has been observed which may be due to alleged hoarding of it by the stockholders,” the ministry said in a letter to the states.

As a result, the states have been told to not only take disclosure of stocks from millers, refiners, wholesalers and traders but also monitor the prices of edible oils and oilseeds on a weekly basis.

Further, the states have been asked to give access to stockists an online portal for disclosure of stocks.

“This move is being made to ensure that there is no unfair practice and the consequent rise of edible oils due to hoarding of any kind,” the ministry said in a statement.

This is not a stock limitation order of any kind, it added.

Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey is expected to take a meeting with state officials on Friday to take the matter further and ensure the compliance is done completely.

The average retail prices of six edible oils — palm oil, sunflower, soya oil, groundnut, mustard and vanaspati — have increased in the range of 20 to 50 per cent in the last year, according to official data.

On September 4, Pandey said the prices of edible oils will start softening from December with the arrival of the new crops but may not cool down “dramatically” amid global concerns.

India meets 60 per cent of its edible oil demand through imports.

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