Kochi, Apr 12 (UNI) Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today alleged the Centre's decision to reduce Kerala's share of grains from the Central pool by nearly 82 per cent was a major reason for the rising food prices in the state.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function here, he said the state was earlier getting 113,000 tonnes from the Central pool but this had been reduced by almost 82 per cent.
Following repeated pleas by the state government, the Centre had hiked the allocation by 10,000 tonnes but this was not enough.
''We are talking to the Centre for a higher share from the Central pool,'' the chief minister said.
He said discussions were on with the Andhra Pradesh government, which had recently decided to cut down on the quantum of rice to be sent outside the state.
Andhra Pradesh is a major source of rice for Kerala.
Earlier, releasing the 'Vision Kerala 2025' document of the CII, he stressed the need for the state to cut its dependence on other states for rice, milk, eggs and other consumables and strive for self-sufficiency.
He said paddy cultivation had come down by 25 per cent and the state's own production could meet only one-fifth of its need.
Regretting that agricultural land was being usurped for construction purposes, the Chief Minister said water sources were being plugged and food crops were giving way to cash crops.
Warning that capitalist forces were exploiting natural resources in the name of development, Mr Achuthanandan said ''food security, shelter and social justice for all'' were the main goals of his government.
Kerala should protect its traditions and ecology even as it is striving to become a developed State by 2025, he added.
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