Karnal, Apr 16 (UNI) In a letter to Congress President and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, All India Kisan-Khet Mazdoor Congress Chairman and Congress MLA S S Surjewala has rued the ''apathy of the union government and the political leadership in controlling the spiralling prices of essential commodities which has eclipsed the achievements of the UPA government so far.'' Urging the Congress chief to take ''drastic steps'' to control the price hike, Mr Surjewala expressed apprehensions of a backlash against the Congress in the coming assembly elections in many states and later in the Parliamentary elections next year.
He suggested revamping of almost ''defunct'' Essential Commodities Act and expansion of Public Distribution System (PDS) to ensure the reach of the essential commodities to the commonman.
Further, these commodities should be subsidised by a joint effort of union and state governments, he suggested.
A meeting of union ministers and the chief ministers should immediately be convened by the Prime Minister to tackle the situation, the letter urged Sonia Gandhi.
Releasing the letter to the media here today, Mr Surjewala also made a scathing attack on the Agricultural Research Institutes functioning under Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) having eight centres of research across the country.
He termed these institutions as ''white elephants'' and ''sick institutions'', which had not made any breakthrough in research for over a decade.
He lamented that little was being done to increase the produce in the country through research work and the scientists had ''failed to ameliorate the lot of the commonman unlike the scientists involved in Green Revolution''.
UNI XC JN BDP HT1927