Concerned over the rise of essential commodities, the State Cabinet, at its meeting on Monday, decided to constitute a task force headed by Chief Secretary.

The task force, comprising Secretaries of Agriculture and Food-Civil Supplies departments, is also likely to include Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, sources in the government say.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi chaired the meeting, which lasted over two hours. The subject of price rise was discussed for about 30 minutes.

The committee will study the long term options for overcoming the problem. It will examine as to how to increase the production and productivity of paddy, pulses and oilseeds.

The Cabinet was said to have deliberated upon the popularisation of cultivation methods that would ensure less utilisation of water and seeds, without compromising on yield.

Already, the State has been promoting the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), which requires efficient utilisation of inputs. For the current year, the target for SRI coverage is 7.5 lakh hectares.

The sources say that the government will continue with short-term measures such as purchase of rice from other States too, buying sugar from the open market and continuing with the import of lentils.

Another subject was the provision of relief to allottees of the Housing Board who have been charged with penal provisions. A motion mooted by Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan was also adopted at the meeting, commending Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on getting the "Tamizh Talaimagan" award of the Bharati Tamil Sangam, Kolkata.