TN Govt warns PDS rice smugglers of severe action

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Chennai, May 22 (UNI) Toughening its stand against PDS rice smugglers, the Tamil Nadu government today warned of stringent action against those stocking rice illegally.

Speaking at a review meeting of the cooperative and food department at the State Secretariat here, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi said 172 people had been arrested since the DMK came to power in May 2006 under the Prevention of Black Marketing and Maintenance of Supplies of Essential Commodities Act. The registration of ten vehicles involved in smuggling of rice had been cancelled.

''The Tamil Nadu Government will not hesitate to take action against smuggling of rice, whomsoever they may be'', he said, adding that stringent action would be taken against officials for failing to monitor those abetting smuggling of rice in the State.

Mr Karunanidhi said the Government would take steps to import 15,500 MT of palm oil through the Union Government and distribute it to the public through fair price shops at the existing rate of Rs 40 per litre.

With a view to control the rising prices of essential commodities, the State Government had initated action to prevent hoarders from stocking wheat and pulses by issuing control orders, he said.

The Chief Minister said all the fair price shops in the State would be provided with electronic weighing machines by July for accurate measurement.

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