Pawar ''playing politics'' on food grain allocation: Kerala CM

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 16 (UNI) Accusing Union Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar of ''playing politics'' on the issue of food grain allocation, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan today said Mr Pawar's stand against restoring rice quota for the state was highly deplorable.

Talking to newspersons here, after the state Cabinet meeting, he alleged that Mr Pawar took a negative approach when an all-party delegation led by him sought the restoration of quota of rice for distribution among the Above Poverty Line (APL) families that had been cut to 17,000 tonnes from 1,13,420 tonnes.

''His advice was to procure rice from the open market,'' he said.

The delegation had pointed out that the move to destroy Public Distribution System (PDS) would help nurturting of market dominance by private players like Reliance.

The Chief Minister said the issue was also brought to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who assured the delegation that the Centre would look into the rice quota issue.

He said the state also sought assistance from the Centre to meet the losses suffered by the farmers to the tune of Rs 1,430 crore, in the recent unseasonal rains.

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