Special Correspondent

Decision by Coop. Department

Thiruvananthapuram: The Cooperation Department proposes to open 4,000 retail outlets to sell provisions, vegetables and other essential commodities at reduced rates as part of steps to keep price rise under control. The Registrar of Cooperative Societies said here on Friday that the State-level inauguration of these outlets would be held on February 15.

A State-level committee with the State Cooperative Bank president as chairman and district-level committees with the District Cooperative Bank presidents as chairmen and the joint registrars (general) of Cooperative Societies as conveners would be constituted for the smooth functioning of these outlets.

Each primary society had to open a minimum of five retail outlets. The other outlets would be run through primary agricultural development banks, employees' cooperatives, residents' welfare cooperatives, women's cooperatives and other primary cooperative societies. The participation of the Consumer Federation, the Civil Supplies Corporation and the Horticultural Products Development Corporation would be ensured.

A meeting held under the chairmanship of Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran resolved to mobilise Rs.100 crore from the cooperative sector for the programme.

Minister's claim

In a statement here on Friday, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran said that prices of essential commodities would come down sharply in the coming few days following the interventions made by the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco).

The Minister said Supplyco had enlarged its retail network to make essentials available at reasonable prices to the consumers and taken steps to procure them directly from production centres both within and outside the State. The Government was also taking steps for procurement of vegetables and ending the practice of vegetables produced in Kerala being taken outside the State and brought back at a higher price, he said.