Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition staged a walk out in the Assembly on Wednesday charging that the LDF government had done nothing to hold down the prices of essential commodities. However, just before the walk out, there was also a consensus in the house to unitedly fight to restore the statutory rationing system in the state and secure 16.25 lakh metric tonnes of rice for the state at subsidised rates. Civil supplies minister P Thilothaman said that 1000 MT of Lalitha brand (Jaya) rice will reach the state from Andhra Pradesh on March 2.
The government has purchased the rice at Rs 39.50 per kg but will sell it at a subsidised rate of Rs 25 a kg.
The consensus formula was put forward by former Chief Minister Oommen Chandy while he was taking part in an adjournment motion on the issue moved by Muslim League leader M Ummer. “It is not just enough to get our quota of 16.25 lakh MT but we should also insist that the additional quota of two lakh MT should be given at subsidised rates,” Mr Chandy said. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan agreed and said that all-party delegation would fly to Delhi to press the state’s demands.
The civil supplies minister said that the state’s quota was fixed at 14.25 lakh MT after the Food Security Act came into being in the State in November. He said that the previous UDF government had done nothing to increase the state’s quota. Mr Chandy said that the quota fixed for the state was only 10 lakh MT. “It was after our repeated demands that it was raised to 14.25 lakh MT. But when we insisted on 16.25 lakh MT, the Centre finally assured us that two lakh MT would be given as additional quota,” Mr Chandy said and added that the government should continue to fight for the state’s traditional quote of 16.25 lakh MT.