Cong CMs call for powers to act against hoarders
New Delhi, Jul 5: The Chief Ministers of the Congress-ruled States today asked the Government to reconsider the 2002 order of the previous NDA regime, rescinding all Control Orders under the Essential Commodities Act as an effective measure to curb the spiralling prices of essential commodities.
At the meeting, convened by Congress President Sonia Gandhi to discuss rise in prices, the Chief Ministers also suggested that the State Governments be empowered to intervene in cases of hoarding of essential commodities, according to Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee.
Briefing the media about the deliberations in the three-hour-long meeting, where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Finance Minister P Chidambaram were also present, he said the Chief Ministers urged the Government that forward trading in foodgrains and other essential commodities be better regulated in order to curb excessive speculation in foodgrains.
According to Mr Mukherjee, Ms Gandhi advised the Chief Ministers to continue to take measures to strengthen Public Distribution System (PDS) and to ensure that the it functioned effectively so as to provide essential commodities to the common man at reasonable prices.
The Chief Ministers apprised Mrs Gandhi of the steps taken by them so far, including reduction in the VAT and Sales Tax on petroleum products. They assured her that they would monitor the price situation closely and take such further measures as may be found necessary.
The Chief Ministers of all the 14 Congress-ruled states, except Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh attended the meeting, chaired by the Congress President. However, Punjab Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal represented the state. AICC General Secretaries and CWC members in charge of states and AICC treasurer Motilal Vora were also present at the meeting at Ms Gandhi's official 10, Janpath residence.