Opens Onam-Ramzan People's Metro Bazaar

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the government will take steps to hold the prices of essential commodities round the year and not just during the festival season.

He was speaking after the State-level inauguration of the Onam-Ramzan People's Metro Bazaar, organised by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, at Putharikandam Maidan here on Wednesday.

Mr. Chandy said a multi-pronged strategy, including market intervention, enhanced domestic production of goods, and Central government assistance, would be employed to tackle price rise and ensure the availability of essential goods to the public.

Ministers' promise

Mr. Chandy said Union Minister for Agriculture Sharad Pawar and Union Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas had promised all possible assistance.

He said Kerala should shake off its dependence on other States for essential goods. A lorry strike or floods in Tamil Nadu or Karnataka triggered a spurt in the prices of vegetables and other commodities in the State. That situation should change.

To check corruption

He said the government was working on a proposal to procure goods directly from production centres and supply to distribution centres. This, he said, would help to curb corruption in the supply network.

“The decision to supply rice at Re.1 per kg is a financial burden on the government. But we view it as the right of citizens,” he said.

State Minister for Food and Civil Supplies T.M. Jacob who presided over the function said the government would arrange to bring essential commodities on special trains if the strike by a section of lorry operators in neighbouring States continued.

He said ration cards had been issued to 5 lakh applicants since the United Democratic Front (UDF) government assumed power in the State.

New scheme

A scheme to issue laminated ration cards on the same day of application was on the cards. The scheme had been included in the Chief Minister's 100-day action programme, Mr. Jacob said.

Prizes given away

Transport Minister V.S. Sivakumar distributed prizes for the best consumer organisations.

K. Muraleedharan, MLA, presented the ‘Sabari Maveli' prizes to the winners. Deputy Mayor G. Happi Kumar conducted the first sale.

Consumers can avail themselves of hefty discount on prices at the Onam-Ramzan fair. A kilogramme of chilli that costs Rs.114 in the open market is priced at Rs.45 at the fair.

Other major goods include jeera (cumin)-Rs.96 (Rs.240 in the open market), rice-Rs.16 (Rs.26), green gram-Rs.28 (Rs.72), chickpea-Rs.20 (Rs.52), big gram- Rs.26 (Rs.46) and dal-Rs.36 (Rs.80).