To provide some relief to consumers from soaring food prices, the Himachal Government on Thursday doubled the quota of rice and flour for weaker sections of society.

The quota of flour has been doubled from 10 kg to 20 kg and of rice from 5 kg to 10 kg for Above Poverty Line, Below Poverty Line and Antodya families and temporary ration card holders under the open market sale scheme.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ramesh Dhawala said the consumers would be provided flour at Rs.14.50 per kg and rice at Rs.18 per kg under the scheme.

In addition, the quota of flour and rice would be made available to all educational institutions, hostels, jails, orphanages and social services organisations, he said.

Claiming that the government was taking all necessary steps to curb price rise, he said the State had received its levy sugar quota up to December 2009 whereas for the month of January 2010 some levy sugar quota had reached wholesale godowns and the remainder would come soon for supply to consumers.

Meanwhile, the State unit of the CPI (M) has asked the Government to immediately withdraw the enhanced fares on State Transport buses introduced under the garb of generating premium for accidental insurance of commuters travelling in these buses.

The CPI (M) charged that the hill State is charging the highest bus fare in the country at 90 paisa per km that almost matches the fares of luxurious trains like Shatabdi and Rajdhani.