Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: Food prices came down this month compared to September last, Food Minister E.V.Velu said on Monday.

Chairing a meeting of the committee that monitors the prices of essential commodities, he said, quoting market statistics, that the price of wheat had come down by 0.98 per cent, urad dhal by 1.01 per cent, Bengal dhal (6.2 per cent), dhaniya (6.72 per cent) coconut oil (0.43 per cent), groundnut oil (7.17 per cent), sunflower oil (3.7 per cent), palm oil (33.46 per cent) and tomato (94.01 per cent).

The impact of the streamlined distribution of rice and other essential commodities through the public distribution system was being felt. The two per cent reduction in sales tax on the price of diesel was also a factor in pushing down the prices of essential commodities, he said. Referring to the repeated reduction in the price of palm oil in the PDS retail shops, he said that when the price was Rs.58 a kg in the open market, the government made it available at Rs.40. The open market price fell and the government reduced the price to Rs.35. Given the fall in open market prices again, the government further reduced the price to Rs.30.