Pawar playing politics on rice quota issue: Kerala CM

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Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 16 (UNI) Accusing Union Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar of ''playing politics'' on the issue of food grain allocation, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said today that Mr Pawar's stand against restoring rice quota for the state was highly deplorable.

Talking to newspersons here after meeting of the state Cabinet, the Chief Minister said Mr Pawar took a negative approach when an all-party delegation led by him sought the restoration of quota of rice for distribution among the Above Poverty Line (APL) families that had been cut to 17,000 tonnes from 113,420 tonnes.

''His advice was to procure rice from the open market,'' he said, adding that the delegation had pointed out that the move to destroy Public Distribution System (PDS) was to help monopolies like Reliance.

The Chief Minister said the issue was also brought to the notice of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who assured the delegation that Centre would look into the rice quota issue.

He said the state also sought assistance from the Centre to meet the losses suffered by the farmers to the tune of Rs 1430 crore in summer rains.

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