Staff Reporter

State seeks Centre's approval for Rs. 325-crore scheme

Items to be distributed through ration shops

State may import sugar from Brazil

KOCHI: Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran has said that the State government has submitted to the Union government for its approval a Rs. 325-crore project to distribute essential commodities through the ration shop network.

Delivering the presidential address at the State level inauguration of school fairs of Supplyco at the head office of the Supplyco at Gandhi Nagar here on Friday, Mr. Divakaran said the State had sought a Central assistance of 25 per cent of the project cost.

“If this assistance is forthcoming, high quality essential commodities would reach the all households in the State,” he said.

The minister said that Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was hugely impressed by the project.

Mr. Divakaran said that serious cases of food adulterations had come to the fore during the ongoing tests of food items at the Supplyco's world class lab at Konni. He said that subsequent actions were being taken based on these test results.

The minister said that a most modern lab to test the purity of gold would be set up at Kakkanad for which the State had sought Central assistance.

He said that the State government was making serious efforts to import sugar from Brazil for which the Central government had granted approval. It would help reduce the price of sugar to a great extent.

Delivering the inaugural address, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac said that the government would go ahead with the import of sugar from Brazil even at the risk of suffering loss from the fall of price for sugar in the open market by the time the import materialised.

Giving away the first lot of prizes under the school-monsoon prize scheme, Union Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas said that the Union government was favourably disposed towards the demands of the State including the Rs. 325-crore project for distribution of essential commodities as well as restoration of the quota of food grains under the APL category.

He asked the State government to be careful with the move to import sugar from Brazil as production was on the higher side this year.

Mr. Thomas said that he was set to visit China shortly to study about the technology to stock food grains that would enable the country to cope with the three-year cycle of high and low production of food grains.

Dominic Presentation, MLA, delivered the keynote address. K. Babu, MLA, was present. Yogesh Gupta, chairman and managing director of Supplyco, welcomed the gathering.