Committee to check rise in prices, availability of foodgrains

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Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 3 (PTI) A regional conference ofFood Ministers of southern states today decided in principleto set up a Consultative Committee for food and civil suppliesto ensure availability of foodgrains and take joint steps tocheck price rise of essential commodities in the region.

The proposal mooted by Kerala Food Minister C Divakaranwould be given formal approval by the Centre, Union Ministerof State for Food and Civil Supplies K V Thomas toldreporters.

The meeting, held here, was called to discuss the FoodSecurity Bill''s proposals and also ways to check price rise ofessential commodities.

Similar meetings of Food Ministers of states inrespective regions would be held in Delhi on February 7,Kolkata in February 14 and Mumbai in February 17, Thomas said.

Different proposals for implementing the Food SecurityBill were under the consideration of the Centre, he said. Itwas proposed to introduce ''priority sector and generalsector'', in place of the existing Below Poverty Line (BPL) andAbove Poverty Line (APL) categories, he said.

However, a final decision would be taken only afterholding consultation with state governments, he said.

The Centre was planning to introduce a MarketIntervention System to check price fluctuations of perishablegoods by setting up ''Farmers'' Market'' in metropolitan cities,he said, adding state governments would be asked to submitprojects.

It was also proposed to amend the Essential CommoditiesAct as many states had suggested amendments holding that theexisting act lacked powers to deal with hoarders, he said.

The Centre was studying the merits and de-merits ofspeculative trading and the consequences of de-regulation ofoil price, Thomas said to a question.

A Rs 340 crore proposal of the LDF Government in Keralato strengthen Public Distribution System by bringing moreitems under it was under Centre''s active consideration, hesaid.

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