Left leaders meet Prime Minister over price rise

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New Delhi, Apr 25 : Left party leaders met Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Friday and demanded urgent measures by the UPA Government to check the price rise.

"We want the price rise to be curbed immediately. We have placed six demands before the Prime Minister and hope the government will take immediate steps to implement them," Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) general secretary Prakash Karat told reporters.

When asked about the PM's response, Karat said he had assured that these demands would be considered.

The meeting lasted for 45 minutes.

On Thursday, the CPI said that the UPA government is not doing enough to bring the inflation under control.

Addressing a news conference here, CPI General Secretary C.K Chandrapan said that as an immediate measure, the Government should announce a ban on futures trading, strengthen the Public Distribution System (PDS) and restore the food quota, especially for the state of Kerala, where the Centre had reduced it by 84 percent.

On Wednesday, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha that the Government is looking at legal and administrative measures to deal with cement manufacturers and steel producers to contain inflation.

"Containment of inflation remains high on the agenda of the government. We have taken a set of fiscal measures and are contemplating some more measures," he said.

The monetary policy of Reserve Bank of India has attempted to contain inflationary expectations arising out of uncertainties in domestic and international environment, he added.

RBI in the third quarter review of the annual policy statement of 2007-08 has mentioned that increase in international prices of oil, food grains and other commodities are due to increase in demand.

The weekly inflation rate of wholesale price index (WPI) stood at 6.7 percent as on March 15, 2008 and reached 7.4 per cent on March 29. However, it has come down to 7.1 percent as on April 5.

On Monday, United National Progressive Alliance (UNPA) and Left parties' leaders courted arrest to protest the price rise. They also held a conference to discuss their strategy to corner the Congress-led UPA government over inflation.

Earlier, the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, had written to the State Governments, asking them to take strong measures against hoarding, believed to be one of the main reasons for short supply and rising prices. He also asked the State Governments to ensure that there is an adequate supply of food grains.

The inflation rate has nearly doubled since December 2007, but the Central Government said that it could bring it down to five per cent within the next two months.

ANI

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