Trades of rice unlawfully exported from India are booming in the markets of Dubai though well-liked varieties cost more than twice the price they rose before New Delhi forbidden exports.

The Indian government said “its ban on exporting non-basmati rice was likely to remain in place for at least three months, but expatriate Indian traders in Dubai said it was easy to circumvent”.

The ban was enforced last month to safeguard India’s domestic supplies between fears of a food crunch and increasing inflation. Businessmen in the UAE, conversely, are still peddling well-liked Indian rice. While it costs more than double the normal price, Indian residents, particularly South Indians, are retorting it up as they plan for Onam, next month’s annual harvest festival. South Indians say they are equipped to buy the rustled rice for the Sept 12 festival despite the high prices.

“The Onam festival is coming and it is colourless without Indian rice,” said Anish Nambiar, a resident of Dubai. “An Onam without our favorite rice is not imaginable. Most people are purchasing and keeping up rice in preparation for the festival.”

Authorities cautioned last month that purchases of Indian non-basmati rice were rubbing up and would not last more than 10 days. Top rice has missing from supermarket shelves in the UAE. “We do not have the Indian non-basmati rice any more as it is mostly out of stock,” said a spokesman for the LuLu supermarket group.

“New stocks are not available as India has banned export of this commodity.” Other supermarket chains have established that Indian rice is unattainable and the rice on their shelves is mostly from Thailand, Vietnam and Egypt. But popular Indian ranges of non-basmati are obtainable in shops in Deira, Bur Dubai and other areas; various is from old stocks and some is still coming from India, in cheekiness of the ban.

One trader said Indian businessmen were avoiding the ban. “Rice is exported on the pretext of rice powder or some other commodity,” he said. “It is easy to do this.”

Update of Indian rice for sale regularly spreads in the community in Dubai by rumors. Finest rice is said to be available in 5kg, 20kg and 50kg bags at some shops. Traders said a 20kg bag of popular Thanjavoor  Ponni rice could sell for Dh145 (US$39.50), compared with Dh50 before the export ban, but the price was still rising recklessly.

Alternative popular variety, Mota rice, is selling for Dh76, more than twice the price two months ago. Some Indians said shopkeepers were storing Mota rice in keenness of big sales before the Onam festival. “Shopkeepers say us that they will not sell the rice now but will save it for Onam when they can charge much more,” said Santosh Ravi, a Dubai resident.

The UAE traditionally imports more than 750,000 tonnes of rice a year, mainly from India and Pakistan, but also from Thailand and Egypt.

The Indian ban has made importers look further pitch in Asia for new supplies. Though, it has caused fright purchasing and the price of Thai rice, which the UAE is now smuggling in rising quantities, has risen 135 per cent. According to reports last month, UAE imports of Thai rice reached US$19.4 million (Dh72.3m) in the first three months of the year, matched with $8.3 million in the same period last year.

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