Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran on Friday reiterated the State’s demand for Central grant for market intervention.

The Minister also called upon the Centre to procure onion and sugar and distribute them through ration shops. Kerala’s quota of PDS grains should be restored.

Mr. Divakaran noted in an official release here that food prices had climbed by 17.47 per cent across the country. This was likely to go up further. The Centre should be addressing the issue on a war-footing instead of passing on the responsibility to the States.

He said that the prices of onion had gone up by 31 percent and sugar by 41 per cent in a year. The average increase in the case of other items was 13 per cent per week.

The State Civil Supplies Corporation said in a release that it had ensured sufficient stocks of essential commodities in all its outlets. Special Christmas metro people’s bazaars would start functioning in the cities from December 15. Special fairs would be organised at the taluk headquarters also.

It claimed that the long queues before its outlets indicated the effectiveness of its market intervention measures. Free gifts would be provided to customers buying goods for more than Rs. 500 during the Christmas- New Year season.