Staff Reporter

It is a national phenomenon says BJD leader

BHUBANESWAR: With skyrocketing prices of essential commodities showing no sign of downward change, the State Assembly here on Thursday expressed its concern over the trend.

Participating in an adjournment motion over the issue, leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh lashed out at the State government for lacking foresights to deal with the situation.

“Usually prices of vegetables and other commodities increase this time around. The State government should have taken steps in advance to ensure that the burden of price rise on general masses does not become unbearable,” Mr. Singh said.

Congress member Prasad Harichandan alleged that control room of Orissa Civil Supply Corporation (OCSC), responsible to keep track of stocks and prices of commodities, was not even working, which exhibited the seriousness with which the Naveen Patnaik government was handling the situation.

There was huge difference in prices of commodities between source and retail points that indicated that market was influenced by outside forces, Mr. Harichandan said.

He demanded that the State government should take a cue from West Bengal and Kerala government who had stepped in to control rise in prices.

The senior Congress leader blamed the lack of infrastructure such as non-functioning of cold storage and market yard for fluctuation in prices. Opposition members demanded more regulatory measures to rein in price rise.

National phenomenon

Defending State government’s action, Biju Janata Dal leader Rabi Narayan Nanda said the price rise was not confined to the State only, it was a national phenomenon. The rise in prices of essential commodities was a result of free economy professed by present Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Mr. Nanda said.

Replying to discussion, Minister of State for Food and Civil Supply Sarada Nayak said the administration was taking steps to seize illegal stocks of dal and other food items.

“We have directed district magistrates to make available essential commodities such as potato, edible oil, onion and dal at right prices. Regular review meeting on rise in prices will be held at district headquarters and accordingly field level officials will work to ensure prices are not inflated,” Mr. Nayak said.

The State government was trying to import Ahrar Dal to the tune of 4,000 tonnes through National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited and sell those to families belonging to Below Poverty Line at a subsidised rate, he said.