Mumbai, July 20 (IANS) Leader of Opposition in the Maharashtra assembly Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Wednesday posed an embarrassing question to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena alliance government on how 'tur daal' costs Rs 120/kg for the poor in fair price (ration) shops, but only Rs 99 in malls where the wealthy shop.

"This fact has recently come to light in Big Bazaar outlets where unlimited quantities of 'tur daal' is available for just Rs 99. However, the state government sells the same 'tur daal' to the poor families through rationing shops at Rs 120... that too, with a ceiling of only one kg per month," Vikhe-Patil said in a statement.

The veteran Congress leader said the private mall has 'succeeded' where the state government has 'failed' despite promises of making 'tur daal' available to the masses at a cheap price.

"The government did nothing to control the tur daal prices till it crossed Rs.200 per kg and only today Food & Civil Supplies Minister Girish Bapat assured that efforts would be made to supply it at Rs 120/kg to people below poverty line (BPL)," Vikhe-Patil said.

Seeking an answer from the state government, he said this is nothing but 'cheating' the poor masses in the name of cheap 'tur daal'.

In the past several months, the prices of major pulses including 'tur daal' have skyrocketed to around Rs 200/kg in different parts of the country including Maharashtra, making these staples of Indian diet a luxury item on domestic menus.