M A I N   N E W S

Pawar: Climate change to blame for price rise 
Nitish disagrees; says UPA policies at fault

New Delhi/Patna, December 20
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar Sunday asked state governments to do more to control spiralling food prices, which led to protests in Parliament last week. “I appeal to all state governments that they should take the issue of price rise very seriously to protect the interest of consumers, otherwise it will be difficult,” Pawar said while addressing the national convention of the Nationalist Congress Party.

He said while “soaring prices is a global phenomenon”, the Indian government was trying to control them.Pawar also assured that the Centre would assist the states in controlling prices in every possible way. “The government is making determined efforts to contain the prices of foodgrains and essential commodities... Unprecedented rise in prices of essential commodities has created a serious difficulty for the people,” he said.

The minister pointed out that certain state governments were also providing additional subsidy to make cereals and pulses more affordable. Pawar, who had formed the NCP after breaking away from the Congress, said despite the global recession, the government had made all possible efforts to bring down inflation to a single digit.

Meanwhile, in Patna Chief Minister Nitish Kumar rubbished Pawar’s charge of some states not cooperating in arresting the sky- rocketing prices of essential commodities and alleged that the problem was the gift of “faulty policies” of the Congress. “I don’t subscribe to Pawar’s charge about the inability of states to control skyrocketing prices of essential commodities,” Kumar told reporters today. “Whenever the Congress came to power at the Centre, it gifted the nation with uncontrolled price rise,” Kumar said.

Accusing Pawar of making such statements out of sheer frustration following the Centre’s failure to rein in rising prices, the Chief Minister said that the NDA government had done its best to check spiralling prices.

“We are undertaking a drive against hoarding and black marketeers are being penalised. We have left no stone unturned to make available food grains to the people despite soaring prices of essential commodities,” Kumar said. “Our efforts will take time and it is my advice that the faulty policies of the Union Ministry responsible for the present mess can be controlled by taking care of food security,” Kumar said. — IANS/PTI




Karat says futures trading the villain; abolish it

Guwahati, December 20
The CPM on Sunday urged the Central Government to immediately abolish futures trading of essentials, citing hoarding of food grain by multinational companies for such business as one of the major reasons for spiralling prices.

“There are many steps which we suggested for curbing price rise. If the government takes those steps like banning futures (forward) trade in essential commodities, things would stabilise. Otherwise multinational companies and big business houses would continue to exploit the situation,” CPM general secretary Prakash Karat 
said while addressing a party rally here.

“Price rise is an issue that we cannot allow to continue and, hence, all the Left parties would launch an agitation in March,” Karat said. 



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