Dhumal urges Centre to take stern action to curb price rise

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Una, May 1 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal has appealed to the Union Government to crack down upon hoarders and black marketeers to check price rise.

Addressing newspersons here last night, he said ''the people of the country are not willing to be taken away by Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram's statement that inflation was a global phenomenon and can not be checked''.

Mr Dhumal said steep increase in prices of essential items only indicated that hoarders and black marketeers were hand in glove with the UPA government. He added that the UPA government had come to power on the assurances of checking price rise, bringing down unemployment and checking corruption.

He said, during the NDA regime, there were no queues for procuring cooking gas and India was exporting food grains to 40 countries. More than ten crore families were being given subsidised ration under the Antadoya scheme and ten kilograms of rice was distributed free to very poor families by the then Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, he said, adding that the situation now had reversed with acute shortage of cooking gas and the country having to import wheat.

Mr Dhumal blamed the Union government for not having the ''will power'' to check prise rise of essential commodities, which was hitting the common man very badly.

He said, ''Himachal Pradesh is primarily a consumer state since most of the essential food items are not cultivated here.'' UNI XC AS PS GT BST2147

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