Rise In Rice Price Annoys Ysr; Ministers Pulled Up
HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy on Wednesday expressed strong displeasure at the failure of his Ministers and the bureaucracy in checking the spiralling price of rice since the last few months.
“We are the largest producer of paddy and there was a record foodgrain production in the last two years. Yet, the open market price of rice remains very high. This is strange. What have you done?” Dr. Reddy said at a meeting with the Group of Ministers (GoM) and officials to review prices.’No more excuses’
“When the procurement price of rice is Rs. 1,430 and Rs.1,480 a quintal for common and ‘A’ grade varieties respectively, why is the price Rs. 20 a kg and above in the open market? Bring down the price to Rs. 15 a kg for common variety and Rs. 16 for ‘A’ grade. I want this to be strictly adhered to. No more excuses,” Dr. Reddy said.
Mincing no words in conveying his dissatisfaction, he asked Finance Minister K. Rosaiah to convene a meeting of the GoM with rice millers, traders and the departments concerned to bring the held-over stocks with millers into the open market immediately.
He directed officials to seal the inter-State borders to prevent smuggling of rice.
The Chief Minister warned that stringent action would be initiated if the millers and traders failed to cooperate in the issue.Minister’s assurance
At a press conference later, Mr. Rosaiah assured that there would be a downturn in the prices within the next 15 days. “If 26 lakh tonnes of stock available with millers is released into the market, prices will come down,” he claimed.
Civil Supplies Minister Kasu Venkata Krishna Reddy claimed that rice in the open market in the recent weeks came down from Rs. 28 to Rs. 24 a kg. Vegetables
Measures were also afoot to boost supply of vegetables from surplus areas to scarce regions.
The Horticulture Department had supplied subsidised vegetable seeds to raise fresh crop in place of those damaged due to rain, Mr. Rosaiah said.