Labour unions stage protest against price rise in Ludhiana

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Ludhiana, Aug 27 (ANI): Activists of labour unions took to the streets in Ludhiana protesting against spiraling prices.

The protest was organised jointly by the Northern Railway Men's Union, the Kisan Sabha (Farmers Union), the Textile Mazdoor (Labour) Union and some other smaller unions.

Protestors said that the central government has failed to check rocketing prices of food grain and other basic commodities.

"The lentils we used to buy for Rupees 22-25 per kilogram is now selling at Rs. 70 a kilogram, vegetables like peas which were available for Rs. 5 per kilogram is now available at Rs. 85 per kilogram. We feel that our lawmakers are sitting idle after winning the election and not doing anything to check prices," said Jagjit Singh, a protestor.

The prices of foodgrains, sugar and other items of daily need have risen due to weak monsoon and drought like situation.

Food prices surged an annual 13.3 percent in mid-August even as the overall wholesale price index fell, and the impact of a poor monsoon on inflation and the economy could prompt further government relief steps.

The widely watched wholesale price index fell 0.95 percent in the 12 months to August 15, its 11th successive fall. That compared with a 1.53 percent decline in the prior week and a market forecast for a decline of 1.41 percent.

The food articles index surged 13.3 percent from a year earlier as drought has hit nearly half of India's districts, eroding crop production and raising major headaches for policy makers.

Last month, the central bank revised up its inflation forecast for the fiscal year ending March 2010 to five percent from four percent.

Officials have said mitigating the impact of the drought conditions is the government's priority.

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said this week that India was facing the prospect of a drought, and the government is planning a crackdown on hoarding of farm commodities and imposing limits of stock traders can keep. (ANI)

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