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PM asks states to contain prices, to hold CMs meet on Jan 27

Wednesday, January 13, 2010 05:34:47 PM, UNI

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today chaired a Cabinet Committee on Prices to discuss measures to check the rising prices of essential commodities like sugar and foodgrains and asked states to take effective steps to curb hoarding to reduce inflation.


Briefing mediapersons about the meeting held at the Prime Minister's residence this morning, Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said Dr Singh has decided to call a meeting of Chief Ministers on January 27 to discuss the issue of inflation.


Pawar said the Centre wanted state governments to take action against hoarders, who were creating artificial scarcity of essential commodities in the country leading to price rise.


He said the off take of wheat and rice allotted to states was not satisfactory and about two to three million tonnes of wheat was still lying with the Centre.


The Minister asked states to improve their distribution network to ensure that essential commodities reach to consumers.


Facing flak over the rising price of sugar which has touched an all time high of retail price of Rs 50 per kg, Pawar said though the Centre had removed all tax on sugar import, many states had still imposed VAT on it.


Also about nine lakh tonnes of imported sugar was still lying on various ports of the country as the Uttar Pradesh government has put restriction on the processing of imported sugar.


He assured that within seven to 10 days' time the price of sugar would be brought under control in the open market. The CCP discussed increasing availability of sugar and other commodities to contain food inflation, which has soared to a decade's high of 20 per cent in the first week of December. The retail price of sugar has reached Rs 50 per kg while prices of commodities like pulses, potato, onion and vegetables have been rising due to widespread impact of drought and floods in different parts of the country.


Earlier, the CCP was about to meet yesterday but it was postponed as Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee could not be present as he was tied up in meetings with visiting Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.


The Congress has been advocating strong measures to check rising prices and provide relief to common man and party chief Sonia Gandhi had said the issue of price rise was of the ''highest concern to us''. It has also suggested direct interventions to check price rise.













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