Oppn walkouts in Kerala Assembly over price-hike

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Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 24: The entire Congress-led Opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) today staged a walkout in the Kerala Assembly in protest against the ''failure'' of the Achuthanandan government to take immediate measures to arrest the hike in the prices of essential commodities.

Leader of the Opposition Oommen Chandy, speaking after the Speaker rejected the admissibility of an adjournment motion, said the state government should take concrete measures to contain price hike instead of blaming the Centre for everything.

Reacting to Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan's arguement that prices would come down once petrol and diesel prices were reduced, Mr Chandy said, ''We are also in favour of reducing the petroleum prices in the country. But it can not be done because of the elections in some states.'' However, the prices could be contained effectively if the state government had taken effective steps for market intervention, he added.

Earlier, Food and Civil Supplies Minister C Divakaran said despite so many adverse factors like petrol price hike, global financial crisis, entry of multi-nationals in retail sector and electricity tariff hike, the state government had taken effective measures for market intervention.

Seeking the leave of the House for the adjournment motion, Mr K C Venugopal (Cong) said prices of most the essential commodities had gone up to 300 per cent in the past two years. Though the Civil Supplies Department had sought Rs 62 crore for market intervention, the Finance Department sanctioned only Rs five crore.


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