Protest a ploy: Chief Minister

Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The agitation organised by the United Democratic Front before the Secretariat against inflation here on Saturday was an act of self-deception, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has said.

Inaugurating the Consumer Day celebrations organised by the State Consumer Affairs Department here on Monday, the Chief Minister said that inflation was a national phenomenon and the policies being pursued by the Congress-led government were also largely responsible for it. The State government had taken steps to arrest the price rise through effective market intervention. The price of rice in the States ruled by the Congress was much higher than the rates in Kerala. If the open market rate was Rs.19 a kg in Andhra Pradesh, it was Rs.22 in Delhi. Supplyco and the cooperative sector played a crucial role in containing the price at Rs.14 per a through market intervention here.

The entry of multinational companies into the retail sector affected the supply of essential commodities. By procuring huge quantities from the production centres, the companies were creating a scarcity in the market. Consumers were being forced to share the burden of the huge amounts expended by the companies for advertisement.

The district consumer redressal forums would be revived soon to ensure that consumers got their due, he said.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister C. Divakaran, in his presidential address, said the State consumer forum which had been remaining dormant would be revived in the interest of the consumers. Kerala being a consumer State, the consumers should be aware of their rights. The State government would take the lead in creating a public awareness. Pannian Ravindran, MP, V. Surendran Pillai, MLA, and Mangode Radhakrishnan, MLA, were among those who spoke.

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