Govt, Oppn lock horns over price rise issue

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Hyderabad, Mar 10 (UNI) Opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh today castigated the Congress Government for its failure to control the ''skyrocketing prices of essential commodities,'' even as Civil Supplies Minister K Venkatakrishna Reddy maintained that the Government was making efforts to make available essential commodities at an affordable price.

Responding to members of the TDP and other parties, who raised the issue of the increasing fuel and essential commodity prices in the state under rule 344 in the State Assembly, Mr Reddy said the fuel price hike was due to the dismantling of the administered pricing mechanism by the previous NDA Government at the Centre in 2002.

Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs), after taking into consideration the prevalent crude oil price in the international market, had fixed the prices for petroleum products and both the Centre and the OMCs bore the burden in the interests of public, the Minister pointed out.

A 'Price Monitoring Cell' was monitoring the price situation and steps were taken to curb hoarding, he said, adding the state government had decided to purchase onions from Maharashtra and market intervention agencies were directed to procure palm oil and redgram whenever there was any an abnormal increase in their price.

Earlier, TDP member Padala Aruna claimed that women were put to hardships during the Congress regime with prices of essential commodities shooting up to 300 per cent and asked why the Government had failed to keep up with its poll promise of providing Rs 100 each as subsidy for cooking gas cylinders.

CPI(M) floor leader N Narasimaiah, CPI MLA Ravindrakumar, BJP Floor Leader G Kishan Reddy and BSP MLA L Raja Rao launched a scathing attack on the Government for price rise, while Congress member Swarna Sudhar defended the Government on the issue.

UNI SM VA SJ SV RS1820

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