To provide relief to consumers from rising tomato prices, the Centre on Thursday directed state-run Mother Dairy to sell tomato puree through its 400-odd Safal outlets in the national capital.
The Delhi government has also been asked to check hoarding and keep a vigil on border areas for any delay in transportation and take immediate corrective action.
The decision was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting, headed by Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K Srivastava, that reviewed the price and supply situation of tomato, a highly perishable vegetable.
Tomato prices have shot up to Rs 80 per kg in retail markets in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR) due to supply disruption owing to heavy rains in producing states like Maharashtra and Karnataka.
Private trade data showed tomato price ruling in the range of Rs 60-80 per kg in Delhi, depending on the quality and locality, while the government data showed rates of the perishable vegetable at around Rs 60 per kg.
"To mitigate the shortfall in availability of tomatoes in Delhi, Safal has agreed to provide tomato puree from all its outlets in Delhi," an official statement said.
Tomato puree will be sold at Rs 25 for 200 gram pack (equivalent to 800 grams of fresh tomato) and at Rs 85 for 825 gram pack (equivalent to 2.5 kilos of fresh tomato), it said.
"The stocks have already been moved to all the outlets and the sales will begin from tomorrow (11th October, 2019) onwards at all booths," the statement added.
In the meeting, the agriculture ministry said supply has been hit due to incessant rains in Maharashtra and Karnataka and it will normalise in the next 10 days as monsoon is already receding.
The government said tomato producing states will be requested to augment the supply to deficit regions, including Delhi, thereby improving availability and moderating prices.
Tomato producing states have been regularly advised to interact with APMCs, traders and transporters to ensure regular supply.
The same is being reiterated to four major tomato producing states namely, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, to ensure prices normalise and supply is augmented immediately, it added.
Normally, tomato production is around 20 million tonnes a year. Tomato is a year-long crop and the country has enough supply to meet its requirement.