Anoop Jacob, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies, said here on Saturday that under new Central stipulations, rice and wheat would be distributed through the ration shops under the Open Market Sales Scheme. This would make available to APL consumers additional 10 kg each of the items. The rice would be distributed at the rate of Rs.16.50 a kg and wheat at Rs.13 a kg, he said.

Mr. Jacob said this would increase the supply in the market and hoped it would ease the pressure on the open market, thus brining down the price line. He, however, pointed out that the new scheme was being dubbed as an attempt to increase the price of products being distributed through the ration depots.

Reacting to a question, the Minister said the government had taken measures for market intervention in view of the difficult situation in Tamil Nadu following cyclone Nilam and the general weather conditions in the neighbouring State. The process of e-tendering was over and orders had been placed for the materials, he said.

Resource crunch

The Minister said the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation was severely hampered by resource crunch. The annual governmental allocation for market intervention stands at Rs.50 crore. “However, for taking up effective market intervention, we need Rs.25 crore a month,” he said. He hoped the situation would change soon.

Storage facility

Mr. Jacob said the State was facing a major crisis in storage facility. As per Central guidelines, the State should have enough storage space to meet three months needs. The monthly consumption of the State stands at 1,50,000 tonnes of grains and pulses. “Though we need storage facility for 4.5 lakh tonnes, we have got space for storage of 90,000 tonnes only,” he said.

Reacting to the allegations of corruption levelled against his office, the Minister said he had taken legal recourse to the issue. Many of these allegations were raised by those disgruntled persons whose parochial interests were not

served by his office, he said.

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