Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Ramesh Chennithala has said Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and his Cabinet colleagues are trying to evade responsibility of controlling the price rise by putting the blame on the Centre.

In a statement here on Friday, Mr. Chennithala said the State government had the primary responsibility to ensure availability of essential commodities and prevent price rice. However, the Chief Minister and other Ministers had been persistently putting the blame on the Centre for all the lapses of the State government, he said.

Stating that an all-party meeting on price rise had come very late in the day, he wanted the Chief Minister to clarify why no effort had been made to tackle price rise during the last three years. The Chief Minister’s promise to release Rs.123 crore to the State Civil Supplies Corporation was not a new allocation, but only the arrears due to the corporation and other similar agencies involved in market intervention, he said.

Mr. Chennithala said it remained to be seen whether Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac, who did not attend the all-party meeting, would release the promised amount. The Civil Supplies Minister had on an earlier occasion registered his protest against the obstacles put forward by the Finance Department, he said.

He also wanted the Chief Minister to clarify why the State government had failed to take action against hoarders and black-marketers. Unfortunately, the State government had failed to take concrete steps to tackle price rise, he said.