Monday, June 24, 2024
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Tripura assembly rocks for price rise of food items

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Agartala: Tripura assembly was rocked on Wednesday on price rise of essential commodities in the state markets and government inaction to arrest ever highest consumer price index (CPI) of vegetables and other food items.

Replying to a calling attention of opposition in the House on Wednesday, food and civil supplies minister Bhanu Lal Saha made a comparative statement of consumer goods, vegetables and food items with Delhi and Agartala, which showed a similarity in CPI.

Saha however, pointed that the country does not have any law to regulate consumer markets and the state government can interfere in retail market unless there is hoarding, black marketing or packet items being sold at more than maximum retail price.

‘To control food inflation and retail market, we have been demanding strengthening of public distribution system, amendment of essential commodities Act and comprehensive law to regulate consumer market for the past few years but central government did not bother rather they are interested to de-regulate the market,’ Saha alleged.

Protesting the minister’s statement, Congress legislator Ratan Lal Nath stated that Tripura’s standard of living and per capital income is much lower than Delhi. In Tripura more than 68 per cent people are living below poverty line, so CPI comparison of Agartala with Delhi is irrelevant.

Moreover, except onion and potato, all other vegetables are being produced in Tripura or imported from nearest states but due to absence of government regulation in the local market both farmers and end consumers have been suffering from huge loss.

‘Most of the fresh vegetables are procured by dealers from nearest sub-divisions from the marginal farmers at minimum price, as the state govt does not have any regulation to safe guard the farmers interest and the same produces are sold in Agartala and other parts of the state at three times more price in retail market and here also govt does not have any control,’ Nath alleged.

However, Nath pointed out if government becomes vigilant in the market as per existing law, at least price of locally produced goods and package items can be controlled because the latest statistics revealed Tripura has set a record in touching highest consumer price index (CPI) of India in August.

Nath also suggested that the government can announce minimum price of fresh vegetables, fish and other food items on weekly basis for the farmers and maximum retail price for the consumer easily to prevent the food inflation.

Similarly, onion and potato can be sold at government run consumer federation counters at minimum profit to control the price hike in retail market like West Bengal but despite repeated request, the left front government did not do anything rather left the market to a section of dealers.

He alleged due to failure of the government to regulate the market and install price control mechanism, CPI has reached to 20.6 ever highest in the country.

‘The CPI of Meghalaya follows Tripura at 13.4, Nagaland 10.3, Mizoram 9.8, Assam 8.1 and Manipur 4.5 while average CPI of the country ranges between 9 and 10,’ he stated.

He however, alleged that the state government had always been accused central government for promoting forward trading and forging investment in retail sector but did not look at the local markets where vegetables and fishes are produced.

‘At the behest of non-action and non-regulation of the market, the middle man culture has grown heavily. They are buying farm produces at low cost from the outskirts and in the urban markets these are being sold at double price but the administration did not take any action,’ he alleged.

He further demanded immediate enforcement on the market to control the price of essential commodities like other state government and added ‘If not having proper connectivity Mizoram, Nagaland and Manipur can maintain CPI at national level, left front in Tripura failed because of administrative lapses.’ (UNI)

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