The government has made elaborate arrangements to keep prices under check during the Onam and Ramadan, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran said here on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference, the Minister said that State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) would run four types of Onam fairs during the festival season. Onam metro people's bazaars would be organised in the city corporations and town people's bazaars in other district headquarters. In addition, Onam markets would be held in districts centres so that there would be one Onam market in an Assembly constituency. All Maveli stores and super markets would function as Onam mini fairs.

Metro bazaars would start on Thursday in Thiruvananthapuram, on Friday in Thrissur and on August 11 in other cities. Town bazaars would open in Kottayam, Palakkad, Kannur and Karunagappally on August 11 and other places on August 14.

The Minister announced that people buying items for Rs. 900 or Onam kits (consisting of essential commodities) costing Rs. 625 from the outlets of Supplyco would get freebies. About 20 lakh BPL cardholders would be given Onam kits costing Rs. 80 free of charge. School children covered under the noon-meal scheme would be given three kilogram of rice for use at home.

He said that all welfare and other pensions would be disbursed before Onam, and 36 lakh families would get rice at concessional rate of Rs. 2 a kg. All APL card holders would be eligible for rice at Rs. 8.90 a kg and wheat at Rs. 6.70 a kg. The Corporation will sell rice at Rs. 16.20 a kg. All card holders would get 500 gm of sugar at Rs. 13.50 akg during the festival season. This would be in addition to 400 gm available to BPL card holders. Mr. Divakaran said that the Legal Metrology and other departments would be holding raids and tests to check cheating in weights and measures, adulteration, hoarding and black marketing. People can call the toll free number 18004251550 to prefer complaints regarding rationing system. Local vigilance councils had been formed to check corruption. He complained that the media were not publishing finding

of the raids in big retail chains.