Food and Civil Supplies Minister Anoop Jacob has said that the government will bring in a piece of legislation to check increase of food prices by hoteliers citing flimsy reasons.
Replying to the discussion on demand for grants for Food and Civil Supplies Department, the Minister said that citing reasons such as increase in the price of petroleum products, the hoteliers were exploiting the customers.
He said that the UDF Government had given subsidy worth Rs 260 crore to the Re 1-per-kg rice scheme meant for BPL card-holders compared to the Rs 174 crore given by the previous LDF Government.
His father and former Civil Supplies Minister T M Jacob had taken efforts to provide ration cards to the applicants on the same day of filing the application.
Around 6 lakh new ration cards were issued since the UDF Government came to power.
He said 35,078 BPL cards were converted to APL cards.
Another opportunity would be given to those BPL cardholders, who were not eligible to possess the BPL cards, to surrender their cards and avoid penal action.
During this Onam, the government will organise Onam fairs, which will last for 50 days across the state.
Mobile Maveli stores will be launched all over the state.
But this facility will be available in all the districts only from next year, Anoop said.
Paddy production in the state had increased to 7 lakh tonnes last year.
Procurement of paddy has also recorded a 40 per cent increase, he said.
Kudumbashree units would be allowed to produce flour using ration wheat for distribution through ration shops.
Milled rice will also be distributed through ration shops, he said.
He denied the allegation that ration rice was decaying in the FCI godowns.
But he admitted that Civil Supplies Department lacked sufficient storage facility while the FCI had a storage facility of 5 lakh tonnes in Kerala.
The Centre has agreed to provide two silos with the capacity of 50,000 tonnes each in Kochi, he said.
Participating in the discussion, CPI’s V S Sunil Kumar said that the government decision to distribute foodgrain at market rate and transfer the subsidy meant for the beneficiaries to the banks would not help the people.
He also pointed out that the government was not speaking anything about the food security Bill mooted by the Centre.
K Kunhiram of the CPM said that 45 per cent of the children in the country lacked nutritious food owing to the wrong policies of the State and Central Governments.