State-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) has sold 1.66 lakh tonnes of wheat and only 17,000 tonnes of rice from the central pool through 11th e-auction last week as part of the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to control retail prices.
Last month, the government announced it will offload additional 50 lakh tonnes of wheat and 25 lakh tonnes of rice from the central pool in the open market to bulk buyer to contain cereal prices.
The food ministry, in a statement, said in the 11th e-auction held on September 6, a total of 2 lakh tonnes of wheat from 500 depots and 4.89 lakh tonnes of rice from 337 depots were offered from across the country.
"In the e-auction, 1.66 lakh tonne of wheat and 0.17 lakh tonne of rice was sold," it said.
The weighted average selling price was Rs 2,169.65 per quintal for FAQ (fair and average quality) wheat against the reserve price of Rs 2,150 per quintal pan-India, whereas weighted average selling price of URS (Under Relaxed Specifications) wheat was Rs 2,150.86 per quintal against the reserve price of Rs 2,125 per quintal.
In case of rice, the weighted average selling price was Rs 2,956.19 per quintal as against the reserve price of Rs 2,952.27 per quintal pan-India, it added.
To encourage participation of small retailers to ensure reduction in retail prices, the ministry said FCI is offering a maximum of 100 tonnes of wheat and 1,000 tonnes of rice to a buyer.
This decision was taken to encourage small and marginal end-users and to ensure more participant could come forward and bid for the quantity from their depot of choice, it said.
In order to avoid hoarding, big traders were kept out from the ambit of wheat sale under OMSS (D) and regular checks/inspections are being carried out at flour mills of the processors who have purchased wheat under the scheme.
Thanks to the government interventions including OMSS and ban on wheat export, all-India average retail price of wheat remained flat at Rs 30 per kilogramme and atta (wheat flour) at Rs 35.62 per kg on September 10, when compared to Rs 30.39 per kg for wheat and Rs 35.72 per kg for atta in the year-ago period, as per the official data.
However, rice prices are still ruling higher as all-India average retail price was quoting at Rs 42.26 per kg on September 10 as against Rs 37.44 per kg in the year ago period notwithstanding curbs on export of certain varieties of rice, the data showed.