Assam govt to fix retail prices of essential goods

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Guwahati, Sep 25 (UNI) Under fire for abnormal rise in prices of essential commodities, Assam Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dr Nazrul Islam today said strict measures would be taken against shopkeepers who charge more than the permissible prices. Addressing mediapersons here, Dr Islam said, government had fixed the margin of profit the retailers could charge and if anyone was found floating it, would be arrested .

Though the minister claimed that the wholesale prices of essential commodities were as per the government fixed rates, the prices in the retail market had skyrocketed, with no mechanism to check it. He however,refused to concede that prices had gone up abnormally and maintained that a steady price rise had been seen throughout the country since December 2005 and in Assam the prices were within the same steady rise.

Dr Islam, however, announced that vigilance committees have been formed by his department in all districts and the ministers and MLAs would supervise the functioning.

The minister informed that 27 raids had been conducted by his department in Guwahati yesterday and two FIRs would be lodged on the basis of the raids today. When pointed out that the vigilance mechanism had failed utterly in checking the abnormal rise in prices of essential commodities, especially onions, potatoes and green vegetables, Dr Islam failed to announce any concrete and definite steps for making the vigilance mechanism more full proof.

His Cabinet colleague and state government spokesperson Ripun Bora, who was also present at the press meet, announced of publishing through newspapers and other media the prices for retail sale of these commodities.

Dr Islam said ''We will take more steps and results will be seen in the next three days.'' The flood situation in the state, which had also led to road and rail communication blockade at various places, has seen prices of essential commodities, especially perishable goods, touch new high.

The government's announcement that the wholesale market price was not abnormal and had been maintaining a steady rise as seen since 2005 had failed to make any impact in the retail price.


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