The State government's price monitoring committee on Thursday decided to recommend that the government make the norms for converting agricultural land for other purposes more stringent.

In a review meeting chaired by Food Minister E.V. Velu here, the committee decided to recommend that the present rule that a piece of farm land should have lain fallow for three years before it can be converted for other purposes be amended to increase the period to 10 years.

An official press release said here that the committee, in which the Chief Secretary, and secretaries of various department and other officials are members, also decided to appeal to the Centre to institute a Price Stabilisation Fund to control prices of essential commodities and extend the scheme to supply pulses and cooking oil at subsidised prices till December 31, 2012.

Granting exemption to rice, sugar, coriander seed, tamarind, garlic and chillies from futures trading, fixation of a storage limit for essential commodities, extending financial help for establishing farmers' markets and allocating funds with a 50 per cent subsidy for building new fair price shops and godowns were the other steps the committee wanted the Centre to take.

The meeting also recommended that steps be taken to increase vegetable production and establish cold storage facilities for vegetables.

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