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Opposition stages walkout in Kerala Assembly over govt's 'failure' to check price hike of essential goods

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led UDF opposition on Monday hit out at the LDF government in Kerala for its alleged failure in checking the spurt in prices of essential commodities and staged a walkout in the Assembly for not taking up the matter for discussion.

The opposition members alleged that the CPM-led government had failed to control black marketers and hoarders and accused it of reducing the amount for market intervention in the state budget.

File image of the Kerala Assembly building. Wikimedia Commons

File image of the Kerala Assembly building. Wikimedia Commons

However, state Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman asserted that effective steps had been taken to contain the prices of essential commodities even though freight charges had soared due to the frequent fuel price hikes.

More amount had been allotted by the LDF government for market intervention in the last two years compared to its previous UDF counterpart, he said.

"There is no price rise in the state.The government could effectively intervene in the public market and successfully contain the price rise of essential commodities," he said.

Thirteen essential commodities were being sold under subsidised rates through the state-run Consumerfeds, he said.

Only the prices of rice, sugar and coconut oil had registered some increase, but it was effectively contained and made available to the public at an affordable rate, he said.

Eighty cases had been registered across the state by the Legal Meteorology Department over complaints of increased prices for branded rice varieties, being charged by shopping malls after the GST rollout, he added.

Seeking notice for the adjournment motion over the issue, K Muraleedharan (Congress) said common people were suffering while the state and union governments were accusing each other for the price rise.

He also asked why the LDF government was not giving up the additional tax accruing to the state exchequer from the fuel price hike, while the previous Ommen Chandy-led government had forgone it four times to give relief to the people.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the Civil Supplies Department had used only 10 percent of the total plan fund allocated for it in the ongoing financial year.

He also alleged that the government had reduced the amount for market intervention to Rs 250 crore in the recently presented state budget from Rs 350 crore in the previous year.

The opposition staged a walkout after speaker P Sreeramakrishnan disallowed the motion after the minister’s reply.

Published Date: Feb 05, 2018 15:11 PM | Updated Date: Feb 05, 2018 15:11 PM

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