Special Correspondent

Law to prevent black-marketing on the anvil: Minister

Rs.10-crore project to promote poultry, cattle farming

Thiruvananthapuram: Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran has said that monopoly retail chains are directly responsible for the unprecedented rise in prices of foodgrains and essential commodities in the State.

Speaking after inaugurating a new office building for the Integrated Cattle Development Project (ICDP) and Regional Artificial Insemination Centre (RAIC) here on Wednesday, he said the mass procurement and hoarding by retail chains had led to a shortage of goods in the open market, pushing up prices.

Mr. Divakaran said vested interests had spread rumours about an impending food crisis in the State. “Preliminary investigation revealed that rice was available in the market but at an inflated price. Government-controlled consumer outlets soon brought the situation under control by supplying rice at affordable price,” he said.

Mr. Divakaran said the government was working on a plan to check price manipulation. “A law to prevent black-marketing and hoarding is on the anvil,” he said.

The Minister said the government was preparing to launch a Rs.2-crore project to promote fodder cultivation in the State. “The Department of Animal Husbandry is ready with another project to promote homestead-level poultry and cattle farming. The Rs.10-crore project will give a boost to the veterinary service. We also brought 300 cows of high-yielding variety from Rajasthan.” Mr. Divakaran said moves were on to implement a Rs.7-crore project to provide free artificial insemination for cattle.