Centre tells states to crack down on hoarders

Centre tells states to crack down on hoarders

With the prices of food products, particularly onions, skyrocketing, the Centre has sent a missive to states to take stern action against hoarders. A feedback is expected from states by Friday.

The delayed monsoon has only added to the government’s woes. Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh declared that western India could be the worst-affected region and a drought-like situation may prevail in certain pockets.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley is scheduled to review the measures taken by states to control the rising food prices, which are expected to increase further if the country does not receive adequate rainfall in July and August.

The agriculture minister and Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan will attend the meeting.

On the agenda for Friday’s meeting are plans for distribution of specific essential items through public channels and review of the Agricultural Produce Market Committee Act to allow farmers direct access to markets by bypassing wholesale outlets.

Consumer Affairs Secretary K Desiraju, in a communication to chief secretaries of all states, has said action is required to eliminate any hitches in the supply chain. It also asked them to report steps taken to ensure adequate availability of onions so that prices are kept under control and there is no scope for speculation.

“There is no shortage of onion and potato. The production of onions has been higher this year as compared with the previous year. We have to improve the supply system,” the agriculture minister said.

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