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Opp decries Food Minister Islam�s role

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, July 17 � Opposition today described Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dr Nazrul Islam as the spokesman of the �black marketeers and an advocate of price rise�. He has not taken any meaningful step to arrest price rise, rued the Opposition members while moving a Censure Motion against the Minister in the State Assembly, which, however, was defeated by voice vote.

Initiating the Motion, Dr Kamala Kalita (AGP) regretted that a Censure Motion was to be moved against a minister. He also alleged that the Chief Minister�s Anna Suraksha Yojana has been dividing the poor on party lines. The Food Minister is also not seeking the support of the opposition in improving the situation, he alleged.

Dr Aditya Langthasa (AUDF) suggested buffer stock of food items should be maintained for the lean season, while, Mission Ranjan Das (BJP) described the Anna Suraksha Yojana as a farce.

Leader of the Opposition, Chandra Mohan Patowary said that there have been 400 per cent rise in the prices of essential commodities in the country since 1991 due to the liberalization of economy. However, he said that the rate of growth in the income of the people is an abysmally low � between 70 to 75 per cent.

Patowary called for steps to subsidize food items and a system of universal distribution of subsidized rice for all the poor people. The Minister is in deep slumber when the common people are facing the phenomenal rise of the prices of essential commodities, he alleged.

Bhuban Pegu (Ind), Abdul Khaleque (Cong), Wazed Ali Choudhury (Cong) and Girindra Kumar Baruah (AGP), Drupad Borgohain (CPI) and Ananta Deka (CPM) took part in the debate.

Replying to the debate on the Motion, Dr Islam claimed that there was no lapse on the part of the Government in reigning in the prices of essential commodities. The Government is trying everything it can to contain price rise. But price rise is a national phenomenon. Even the Central Government, which has economist like Dr Manmohan Singh at the helm of affairs, failed to evolve effective mechanism to arrest price rise, he said. However, he claimed that Assam is the best state in price maintenance.

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