Thiruvananthapuram: CPI-M led LDF Opposition in Kerala Wednesday staged a walkout from the Assembly in protest against the UDF government`s `failure` to contain price rise of essential commodities.
Intervening on the notice for an adjournment motion on the issue, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy admitted that rising prices was a serious issue and the government was taking steps to check it with effective open market intervention.
He said besides the amount earmarked for ration subsidy, the government had allotted Rs 573.50 crore for market intervention, which clearly showed its commitment to check price rise.
To check prices of items in hotels, the government was considering bringing forward a legislation to control prices of food products in hotels, he said.
Seeking leave for the motion, P Thilothaman (CPI) disputed the government`s contention and said prices were skyrocketing with the administration remaining a mute witness. He also alleged that there was corruption in Civil Supplies Corporation and Consumerfed.
Replying to the notice, Food Minister Anoop Jacob denied the charges and said the government had opened more Civil Supplies Corporation outlets, Hyper Markets and mobile Maveli Stores to supply food items at reasonable prices.
To strengthen the Public Distribution System, a proposal to hike the commission given to ration shop owners was under the government`s consideration, he said, adding the "government aim is the make the ration shop business a viable one".
Speaker G Karthikeyan refused leave for the motion after the statements of the Chief Minister and the Food Minister.
Not satisfied with the government response to a `serious issue` as price rise, the entire LDF Opposition, led by their leader and CPI-M veteran V S Achuthanadan trooped out of the house.
Before the walkout, Achuthanandan said prices of rice and sugar had gone up by 250 per cent in the last three years.
The price of rice which was Rs 18 to Rs 20 in 2011 when LDF was in power has gone up to Rs 40 to Rs 45 and that of sugar had shot up from Rs 14 to Rs 40.
This was the case with all food items, including vegetables, fish and meat, he said, adding the situation had come to such an extent that it was very difficult for the common man to survive.
He also said the government was very insensitive to the issue which directly affects the people.