Opposition stages walk out over price hike

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Mumbai, Apr 4 (UNI) The Shiv Sena-BJP members today staged a walk out from the Maharashtra Legislative Council, dissatisfied with the reply given by Civil Supplies Minister Sunil Tatkare on the increase in prices of essential commodities and black marketing.

The Shiv Sena and the BJP members alleged that the State Government has not been able to control the increase of prices of essential commodities and that black marketing was flourishing in the State in an organised manner.

The issue of inflation was raised by Arvind Sawant (Shiv Sena) who alleged that the State Government was doing nothing to control the prices. He said that the frequent increase in petrol and diesel prices had hit the people hard, but the State Government has not made any provisions in the budget for checking inflation.

Sena member Neelam Gorhe said that during the Sena-BJP tenure, prices of essential commodities had been kept under check but the incumbent government has failed to tackle this issue. She said that prices have risen owing to a lack of storage facilities for vegetables and other essential items.

Pasha Patel (BJP) said farmers in the state are facing severe problems as they are not being paid proper prices for their crop although the cost of agricultural inputs have risen.

Arun Gujrati of the NCP also expressed the need to check the prices of foodgrains, but said it was wrong to blame the Government for the inflation.

Later, Civil Supplies Minister Sunil Tatkre informed the House that the State Government is worried about the hike in prices and is taking appropriate steps. Palm oil prices will be reduced by Rs 25 to 30 in May and the State is also trying to reduce prices of cereals by importing them, he said. ''Strict action will be taken against hoarders,'' the Minister assured.

The Government, he said, would provide subsidy on essential commodities and receipt would be mandatory for purchase from fair price shops, he said.

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