Residents affected by the escalating cost got a relief in State government’s announcement to sell rice in the open market at a subsidised rate.

Finance Minister O. Panneerselvam said that the government would offload one lakh tonnes of rice in the open market and sell it through Amudham and other cooperatives for a subsidised rate of Rs. 20 per kg.

This measure to control rising price was widely welcomed. Residents said that the government must ensure quality of the rice too.

R. Padmasundari, a resident of Mogappair, said: “I have to shell out Rs. 48 for one kg for raw rice now. This measure will be a boon to residents like me who spend a minimum of Rs. 700 a month for rice alone. But it must be cleaned and packaged properly.”

Residents also complained that sometimes rice that they buy have a stale stench probably because it is doubled boiled to prevent breakage.

Besides plans to continue distribution of toor dhal and urad dhal for Rs. 30/kg and palm oil at Rs. 25 per litre through PDS outlets till March 31, 2014, the State government also proposes to open farm fresh consumer outlets in urban areas to provide vegetables at a nominal rate.

Horticulture Department and cooperatives would open such outlets to form a direct link between farmers and consumers.

S. Vimala, a resident of Ambattur, said that ‘Uzhavar Sandhai’, which was opened with a similar concept in Ambattur has not taken off properly as residents do not have access to it.

The new consumer outlets must be opened in residential localities or in a market area.

Sources in cooperative societies said that selling rice at a subsidised rate in the open market will certainly bring down the prices.

Some cooperatives were already selling vegetables at a cheaper price.

Such outlets or cooperative stores must be given sufficient cold storage facility to keep the perishable goods fresh.

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Tamil Nadu BudgetMarch 22, 2013

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