'Goods worth Rs.1,400 crore sold through festival outlets in four years'

Essential goods worth Rs.1,400 crore have been sold through the outlets opened by the government during the festival seasons in the last four years at rates considerably lesser than those in the general market, Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran has said.

Inaugurating the Agriculture Department's Onam Grocery outlet here on Thursday, Mr. Sudhakaran said the government, which had so far operated 64,000 reduced price outlets in the last four years, had given a subsidy of Rs.560 crore for this purpose. More than 50 lakh ration card holders had benefited from this initiative. Prices could be further reduced if the Centre had helped the State government with subsidies to tackle the price rise, he said.

Treatment assistance

Mr. Sudhakaran, who also handed over a cheque of Rs.1 lakh from the Chief Minister's Relief Fund to drama activist and artiste Seythan Joseph as treatment assistance, said at a separate function that he would take up with the government the issue of increasing pensions for journalists.

Speaking after inaugurating the distribution of festival allowances and advance pension for the month of September at the Press Club here, the Minister said journalists too belonged to the working class and they deserved a better deal. Mr. Sudhakaran distributed pensions worth a total of Rs.65,250 to 30 retired journalists in the district.

A.A. Shukoor, MLA; P.P. Chitharanjan, Municipal Chairman; P. Venugopal, District Collector; and others were present.