Special Correspondent

Steps on to reduce prices of vegetables, other essential commodities too

HYDERABAD: District Collectors have been asked to immediately hold meetings with traders and take stringent action, including arrests, against black-marketers and hoarders to control the prices of essential commodities.

Also, the reserve fund of the 117 Rythu Bazars in the State has been enhanced to Rs. 10 lakh each from the present Rs. 1 lakh, to cut down the prices of vegetables and other items being sold from these markets.

Further, one litre of palm oil will be supplied a month each to 1.87 crore white cardholders for Rs. 40 (present market rate Rs. 52) through the 41,899 fair price shops with effect from May 1 along with subsidised rice, and one kg of redgram for Rs. 30 (Rs 38).

These were three of the five short-term measures announced by the Government as an immediate way-out from the spiralling prices after the Group of Ministers (GoM) on prices submitted its report to Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy, suggesting 21 measures, 11 short-term, and 10 medium and long-term.

Civil Supplies Minister K. Venkata Krishna Reddy, who heads the GoM, and Marketing Minister M. Mareppa and Energy Minister Mohd Ali Shabbir, its members, told reporters later that hereafter, subsidy payable by the Horticulture Department towards the pulses seeds would be enhanced to Rs. 1,200 per acre from (presently Rs. 600) to encourage pulses crops. A Price Monitoring Cell would be set up with toll-free number so that people could inform the government if they came across black-marketers and hoarders.

As part of the medium and long-term measures, the reserve fund meant for Market Intervention Scheme had been increased to Rs. 100 crore for this year, and the amount kept for purchase of pulses and palm oil to Rs. 375 crore.