Left attacks price rise, Dasgupta regrets support to govt

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New Delhi, Apr 16 (UNI) The Left Parties today launched a virulent attack on the UPA government for its failure to check price rise, accusing it of entrusting the food economy to the market and manipulators, with Mr Gurdas Dasgupta going so far as to say that experiment of the Left parties support to the government has ''fallen out of place.'' Opening the discussion on the subject in the Lok Sabha, Mr Dasgupta spared no words to criticse the government for its ''shameful surrender to the delinquent market forces'' by making the food economy ''totally vulnerable'' to global forces.

''Today the government does not exist,'' Mr Dasgupta said and appealed to the government to rise to the occassion and prove that they will not allow the common man to be exploited by profiteers and hoarders.

Mr Dasgupta (CPI) was speaking on the motion under Rule 193: ''Situation arising out of continued rise in the prices of essential commodities and steps taken by the government in regard thereto.'' The left leader made several statements to indicate the left parties displeasure with the official policies and the UPA government.

He even accussed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for creating panic by making a statement that the Indian economy will be impacted by global rise in prices of food items and other commidities. ''This shows how powerless the Prime Minister is in controlling prices.'' Mr Dasgupta warned of ''food riots'' due to galloping prices and aggrandising poverty and charged that the Centre has reduced the offtake of foodgrains to the States.

The left leader said the price rise was more with regard to essential commodities like flour, pulses and edible oils, hitting the poor more than any one else.

He cited statistics to prove that even a simple ''roti, dal and one vegetable'' was costing about Rs 20, which many in India cannot afford.

Mr Dasgupta said while the supply of foodgrains had increased, its availability to the man on the street had decreased, which established that there was hoarding.

The left leader alleged that the Public Distribution System had collapsed, for had there been an effective PDS prices would have stabilised.

Mr Dasgupta said food subsidy was negligent adding that the government had done little to enhance agriculturasl production.

Agricultural credit has been stagnant and public investment in agriculture was on the decline.

He said the BJP had privatised stockpiling of foodgrains and the Congress came to power on the pledge that it will undo this.

However, during the four years of its tenure it has not undone this decision.

Mr Dasgupta said inflation rate had touched a 40-month high of 7.41 per cent in end-March and had been rising constantly over the past few months.

But what was worse was the yawning gap between Wholesale Price Index(WPI) and retail prices, which is what mattered to the common man. The difference was high as 4.4 per cent, he added.

UNI GS Mir RAI1448

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