Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the House that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The hike in railway passenger and freight fares announced by the Centre last week will lead to a spurt in the price of foodgrain and other essential commodities in Kerala, the government and the Opposition concurred in the Assembly on Monday.

Demanding a rollback of the fare hike, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the House that he would write to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Bear the brunt

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Anoop Jacob said that Kerala, as a consumer State, would have to bear the brunt of the rail fare hike.

Mr. Chandy alleged a move to undermine the public distribution system in the State.

The government was responding to a notice for an adjournment motion moved by Elamaram Karim of the CPI(M) seeking leave to discuss the issue in the House.

With Mr. Chandy offering to initiate a discussion on the impact of the rail fare hike later during the session, the Opposition decided not to press the issue.

Mr. Jacob observed that the price of rice and other foodgrain imported from other States would shoot up once the new rail fares came into effect.

Thousands of commuters would be hit hard by the upward revision in season ticket rates.

The government, he said, was considering a proposal to enhance the quantity of foodgrain and other essential items sold at subsidised rates through the public distribution system.

Efforts were on to crack down on traders trying to push up prices. There would be regular inspections to ensure that the price list was displayed at shops.

The government would do everything possible to cushion the impact of the rail fare hike on the common man.

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