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Recent unseasonal rain good for crops: Govt

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 16 (UNI) The Centre today said the recent unseasonal rain will be beneficial for the crops.

When asked about the possibility of the unseasonal rains causing damage to the crops, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said Agriculture Minister had informed the Cabinet Committee on Prices (CCP) that these rains would be beneficial for the crops.

The rains would be helpful rather that casuing harm, he said even as some reports had suggested that they would cause damage.

Meanwhile, the CCP today reviewed the price situation, particularly of wheat, sugar and potato and decided to take measures that include monitoring of the distribution norms for sugar mills and smooth landing of imported wheat.

Acknowledging that the prices of the three commodities are ''slightly high'', the CCP, presided over by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, decided to tighten the monitoring of the release of levy sugar by the mills.

''While international prices have firmed up, sugar production is likely to be very high this year'', Mr Chidambaram said adding that prices would moderate over a period of time.

Rejecting reports that the unseasonal rains had damaged the crop, Mr Chidambaram said, according to the assessment of the Agricultural Ministry, it would ''rather help the wheat crop'' The proposed import of five lakh tonnes for the southern states would ease the situation. In the northern states, the prices have already started moderating, he said.

Asked about potato, he said the prices could never be constant for every commodity. ''The housewife knows what to buy and when'', he remarked.

However, he said the overall inflation at 4.2 per cent last week was moderate.

UNI IP MA RN2112

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