Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday reviewed the prices of essentials with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar here.

Ahead of the Chief Ministers’ Conference convened by him here for February 6, Dr. Singh personally took stock of the situation. He reviewed the status of imports, availability and prices of sugar, pulses, wheat, edible oils, rice and milk as also vegetables.

In the last one year, in Delhi retail markets tur dal prices have surged from Rs. 49 to Rs. 83 a kg, urad dal from Rs. 46 to Rs. 71, moong dal from Rs. 46 to Rs. 82, sugar from Rs. 24 to Rs. 44, wheat from Rs. 13 to Rs. 16, atta from Rs. 15 to Rs. 18, and loose tea from Rs. 143 to Rs. 160 per kg. Milk prices have also gone up and are rising.

Dr. Singh assessed the measures taken by the Centre to check the rising prices and listened to suggestions on further steps that could ease the situation. Cabinet Secretary K.M. Chandrasekhar and senior officers of the Department of Agriculture, Food and Consumer Affairs were present.

The Prime Minister was informed about the release of additional wheat in the open market and that States were slow in buying the same. He reviewed the availability of sugar. He had earlier written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati to allow lifting of imported raw sugar from ports for the State millers.

Action against hoarders

At the meeting with Chief Ministers, the Central government will take stock of the production of various agriculture produce, procurement, availability of various commodities and the empowerment of States under the Essential Commodities Act to take action against hoarders and black marketeers.

The government will project the measures taken by some States to de-hoard and to make available cheaper commodities through various interventions and urge other States to emulate them.

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