Govt action to contain inflation continues

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New Delhi, Apr 1 (UNI) A day after governemnt took a slew of measures to check high inflation and rise in prices of commodities, Commerce Secretary G K Pillai today asked steel and iron ore producers to exercise self-restraint on the price front.

Cabinet Committee on Prices, in an emergency meeting held last evening at PMs residence, announced abolition of import duties on edible oil and extended ban on export of pulses but it held back decisions on steel and iron ore which, too, have contributed to high inflation.

Mr Pillai, in a meeting with steel and iron ore producers, took the first step today urged them not raise prices.

The meeting took place in the backdrop of a veiled warning sounded by Finance Minister P Chidambaram yesterday when he said ''there are reports that steel producers are planning to raise prices. The government is extremely concerned over steel prices and we would advise them to observe restraint (and not to raise prices).'' The government is alarmed over the wholesale price index based inflation rising to a 13-month high of 6.68 per cent for the week ended March 15, 2008 and, therefore, monetary and fiscal measures, too, are not ruled out to calm prices.

A meeting of an empowered Group of Ministers, headed by External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is also scheduled to take place on price rise tomorrow.

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