THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Congress-led UDF government in Kerala today made it clear that it would not backtrack from implementing the National Food Security Act and said a survey to identify the beneficiaries is underway.
State Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob informed the Assembly that the government had already requested the Centre for some more time to implement the Act.
"We will not backtrack from implementing the National Food Security Act. We have asked the Centre for some more time to implement it. A survey is going on now to identify deserving beneficiaries to avoid any complaint in this regard," he said.
The minister was replying to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by the LDF on the soaring price hike of essential commodities and vegetables and the alleged government failure to control it.
The delay in implementing the sought-after Act had caused no impact on the Public Distribution System in the state, he said and rejected the opposition allegation that the government had failed to check the price hike.
"Effective market intervention" and "raids against hoardings" by the government had helped regulate soaring price hike in the state, he said.
Though BJP government at the Centre had cut short the ration allocation to the state, the UDF government had succeeded in restoring the state's quota, Jacob said.
Supporting his arguments, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government had allotted a total of Rs 503 crore for the state-run Civil Supplies Corporation as part of market intervention.
However, he admitted that he is not claiming that everything was perfect and there was no price hike in the state.
"This government is committed to reducing the prices of essential commodities and vegetables. We have adopted a practical and effective approach in terms of market intervention," Chandy said.
Giving details of the steps taken in this regard, he said an amount of Rs 503 crore had been allotted to the Civil Supplies after this government came to power in 2011 and another Rs 35 crore has also been sanctioned now.
Taking a dig at the opposition benches, he said the previous LDF government had allotted only Rs 340 crore for it.
As part of market intervention, government also allotted Rs 254.5 crore to the Kerala State Co-operative Federation (Consumerfed). An additional Rs 25 crore would also be given soon, Chandy said.
Besides this, Rs 39.5 crore was allocated to horticorp to control the prices of vegetables and an additional Rs five crore would also be allotted for it.
Earlier, CPI leader C Divakaran, while seeking the motion, said people's lives have become "miserable" under UDF government due to the skyrocketing of prices of essential commodities.
"The Public Distribution System in the state has collapsed. If the situation continues, suicide rates will go up in Kerala," Divakarn, also a former minister, said.
After the Speaker N Saktan denied permission for the motion, the opposition staged a walkout, dissatisfied with the reply of the government.