Consumers and activists want masoor dal to be supplied through PDS outlets in T.N.

Masoor dal is cheaper and more nutritious than the tur dal that is currently supplied at ration shops, activists say

March 18, 2024 10:24 am | Updated 10:24 am IST - CHENNAI

At present, tur dal is supplied at ration shops in T.N. A section of consumers and activists want this replaced by masoor dal. File photograph used for representational purposes only

At present, tur dal is supplied at ration shops in T.N. A section of consumers and activists want this replaced by masoor dal. File photograph used for representational purposes only


A section of family card holders, activists and even dal millers have urged the Tamil Nadu government to provide masoor dal, which is red lentil, at fair price shops through the Public Distribution System (PDS) since it is priced lower than toor dal and is more nutritious. They say a portion of the dal being sold via PDS outlets at present is Canadian red lentil, labelled and supplied as Canadian toor dal.  

Consumer activist T. Sadagopan said that one kilogram of masoor dal in the retail market was only ₹140/kg whereas that of toor dhal was ₹210/kg. “The government buys toor dhal at wholesale rates and supplies it at subsidised rates at the PDS. If masoor dal is more economical, the government should consider replacing Canadian red lentil with masoor dal,” he suggested.

K. Balasubramanian, honorary president, Tamil Nadu government - Fair Price Employees Union (TMG- FEU) said that the government should not hesitate to shift to a lower priced alternative. “Masoor dal is grown in India, which means the import bill would be greatly reduced if it is procured from within the country.”  

Nutrition-wise too, toor dal known as red gram dal, is lower in calories when compared to masoor dal. The protein content is 22g/100g, lower than that of masoor dal and the fibre content, 9g /100g, is also lower than that of masoor dal. The potassium content however, is more than double that of masoor dal, explained a nutritionist.

Citizen Consumer and Civic Action Group’s S. Saroja said that if masoor dal had more nutritional value, then the government should consider supplying this dal on a pilot basis at a few outlets at least. “They can have both available at the shops and explain to the public, the benefits of masoor dal. There is no harm in trying this out for a few months,” she said.

Arumugam, a dal miller, said that the only point that might be cited against masoor dal is that it could cause some ill effects to the health. “That is an old belief and that came to be because of Kesari dhal, which looks similar, but is smaller than masoor dal. Now, with the use of colour sortex technology, even the 0.03% presence of Kesari dhal is removed. It can be found very minimally only in dals grown in West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. The imported Masoor dal or Canadian red lentil does not have Kesari dal,” he explained.

V. Kausalya, a resident of Kannagi Nagar, said that she would not mind using Masoor dal, locally known as Mysore parappu, in her cooking. “If there is a cheaper alternative why not try it. I use it sometimes mixed with toor dal if I cannot afford to buy toor dal. It cooks faster, which means lesser cooking gas will be used. And since it is pre-soaked, it will reduce gastric issues that are common with dal consumption,” she pointed out.

Official sources in the Food and Consumer Affairs department said that since the matter was sub-judice, they could not comment on it.

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