Govt to regulate pvt retail chains to rein in high food prices

Written by: Pti
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Thiruvananthapuram, Jan 29 (PTI) The Centre now plans toregulate private retail chains to ensure they did not makeundue profit, Union Minister of State for Food and CivilSupplies K V Thomas said today.

"We are not against private retail chains, but will notallow them to make undue profit. State Governments had beenadvised on this," he told reporters here.

He said studies on recent increase in the prices of onionhad suggested that private retail chains were making "excessprofits", as they had facilities to store perishable goods inlarge quantities.

It was also planned to review the Essential CommoditiesAct as suggested by many state governments, he said.

Stressing that curbing escalation in foodgrains'' price wasone of the Central government''s main aims, Thomas said the UPAGovernment was working out modalities to supply more essentialcommodities through the Public Distribution System (PDS).

Four zonal-level meetings of state food ministers will beheld to include the state governments'' suggestions on thematter, Thomas said.

The first such meeting would be held here on February 3,followed by meetings in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai on February7, February 14 and February 17 respectively, he said.

Centre has also planned to devise a system to supply evenperishable items through PDS in metropolitan cities, Thomassaid, adding that the first such system would be put in placein Delhi.

He said another priority area was the implemention ofNational Food Security Act. It would be implemented once theschemes under the Act were approved by the National AdvisoryCouncil and Cabinet.

It had also been decided to intervene in open market withthe help of NAFED (National Agricultural Cooperative MarketingFederation of India) and NCCF (National Cooperative Consumers�Federation of India Limited) whenever necessary to check pricerise, he said.

Thomas blamed the flood in Nasik (Maharashtra) for therecent spurt in onion prices. With the intervention of Centre,the price of onion has started dropping, he said, adding theeffort was to bring the price level to Rs 22 per kg.

He said the Centre also has plans to increase itsfoodgrains'' storage capacity to 1.7 lakh tonnes under PrivatePublic Participation mode. A discussion would be held with therepresentatives of trade and business.

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