THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The skyrocketing price of vegetables, pulses and essential commodities came up for discussion in the state Assembly on Tuesday when the Opposition sought to move an adjournment motion on price hike and government’s failure in ensuring effective market intervention.
Refuting the charges, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the government had been taking all possible steps to arrest price hike. A amount of Rs503 crore has already been given to Supplyco for market intervention and another Rs35 crore was also sanctioned in this regard. An amount of Rs254.5 crore was given to the Consumerfed and another Rs25 crore sanctioned. In the case of Horticorp, already an amount of Rs39.5 crore was given and another Rs5 crore sanctioned last week. The LDF later staged a walkout in protest after permission was denied for the adjournment motion.
Raising the issue, CPI leader and former food minister C Divakaran said despite price hike, the government failed to ensure effective market intervention through agencies like Supplyco, Consumerfed and Horticorp. Referring to a reply given to an unstarred question by the Chief Minister, Divakaran said the food and public distribution department failed to fully utilise its project allocation.
He pointed out that avenues for effective market intervention have been sabotaged and are immersed in corruption charges. Even when the BJP government cut down the quantity of foodgrains, the state could not do anything, he said, and added that former union food minister and Congress leader K V Thomas had criticised the state for non-implementation of the Food Security Act. Refuting the allegations, Food Minister Anoop Jacob said the project amount earmarked for market intervention had been fully utilised. While the previous government provided 1 lakh tonnes of subsidised grains, the UDF government increased it to 2.3 lakh tonnes. He also explained the measures taken for paddy procurement. Speaking on the issue, Cooperative Minister C N Balakrishnan said a Vigilance probe is on into the corruption charges in the Consumerfed. Cooperative Secretary has been asked to look into the corruption charges.