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Opp flays Govt on price rise, LPG crisis

By Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, March 4 � The Government today came under strong criticism from the Opposition members because of its failure to check blackmarketing of LPG cylinders and to control price rise of essential commodities.

Raising the issue during the question hour in the State Assembly today, Dr Tara Prasad Das (Ind) demanded that strong action should be taken against the persons responsible for creating artificial scarcity of LPG cylinders.

Leader of the Opposition Chandra Mohan Patowary alleged that the Food and Civil Supply Department totally failed to prevent black marketing of LPG cylinders. He said that he himself was a victim of black marketing of LPG cylinders and alleged that such illegal practices are going on with the knowledge of the Supply Department.

Parimal Suklabaidya (BJP) said that if the state is facing shortage of LPG cylinders, the matter should be taken up with the Centre immediately. He said that he himself did not get any cylinder for the past six months and alleged that the cylinders allotted for Cachar district were being sent to Mizoram.

Several other members of the House including Ramendra Narayan Kalita (AGP), Prasanta Phukan (BJP), Pranab Kalita (Ind) and Mohibul Haque (Ind) also raised the issue and demanded action against those involved in black marketing. They also alleged that most of the agencies do not provide home delivery of cylinders to the customers.

In reply, the Food and Civil Supply Minister, Dr Nazrul Islam said that the State is facing a shortage of about eight lakh cylinders per month. He said that the matter has been taken up with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and the oil company has started expansion of capacity of its bottling plants. He said that the IOC has assured the Government to complete the process of capacity expansion of the bottling plants within six months and hoped that the situation would improve after the supply position improves.

The Minister admitted that some agencies might be involved in black marketing of cylinders and assured that action would be taken against persons involved in black marketing. He said that 12 persons have already been arrested by the Bureau of Investigation of Economic Offences (BIEO) of Assam Police.

Price rise: CPM member Atanta Deka today called upon the Government to take effective steps to control the prices of essential commodities and demanded that the Public Distribution System (PDS) should be strengthened.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the State Assembly, Deka said that the State Government should request the Centre to amend the Essential Commodities Act to give more teeth to it so that the Government control over the prices increases. He said that the decision of the Government of India to increase the prices of petroleum products would have a cascading effect on the prices of all the commodities by increasing the cost of transportation.

Supporting Deka, Girindra Kumar Baruah (AGP) pointed out that at one point of time, the NE region used to get subsidy on transportation of essential items by trains, but the Centre has withdrawn the subsidy, which resulted in further escalation of the prices. He said that the State Assembly should adopt a resolution demanding reintroduction of subsidy on transportation of essentials to the NE region.

In reply, Dr Islam said that the increase of prices of petroleum products might result in marginal increase of prices of essential commodities. He said that the Prime Minister has already constituted a committee of ten Chief Ministers to examine the issue of amending the Essential Commodities Act. He said that the State Government has also taken up the issue of reintroduction of subsidy on transportation of essentials to the state by trains.

The Minister said that the prices are being reviewed regularly and on March 2 he held a meeting with the Railways, Food Corporation of India and Chambers of Commerce to ensure smooth supply of all the essential commodities.

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Opp flays Govt on price rise, LPG crisis

GUWAHATI, March 4 � The Government today came under strong criticism from the Opposition members because of its failure to check blackmarketing of LPG cylinders and to control price rise of essential commodities.

Raising the issue during the question hour in the State Assembly today, Dr Tara Prasad Das (Ind) demanded that strong action should be taken against the persons responsible for creating artificial scarcity of LPG cylinders.

Leader of the Opposition Chandra Mohan Patowary alleged that the Food and Civil Supply Department totally failed to prevent black marketing of LPG cylinders. He said that he himself was a victim of black marketing of LPG cylinders and alleged that such illegal practices are going on with the knowledge of the Supply Department.

Parimal Suklabaidya (BJP) said that if the state is facing shortage of LPG cylinders, the matter should be taken up with the Centre immediately. He said that he himself did not get any cylinder for the past six months and alleged that the cylinders allotted for Cachar district were being sent to Mizoram.

Several other members of the House including Ramendra Narayan Kalita (AGP), Prasanta Phukan (BJP), Pranab Kalita (Ind) and Mohibul Haque (Ind) also raised the issue and demanded action against those involved in black marketing. They also alleged that most of the agencies do not provide home delivery of cylinders to the customers.

In reply, the Food and Civil Supply Minister, Dr Nazrul Islam said that the State is facing a shortage of about eight lakh cylinders per month. He said that the matter has been taken up with the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and the oil company has started expansion of capacity of its bottling plants. He said that the IOC has assured the Government to complete the process of capacity expansion of the bottling plants within six months and hoped that the situation would improve after the supply position improves.

The Minister admitted that some agencies might be involved in black marketing of cylinders and assured that action would be taken against persons involved in black marketing. He said that 12 persons have already been arrested by the Bureau of Investigation of Economic Offences (BIEO) of Assam Police.

Price rise: CPM member Atanta Deka today called upon the Government to take effective steps to control the prices of essential commodities and demanded that the Public Distribution System (PDS) should be strengthened.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour in the State Assembly, Deka said that the State Government should request the Centre to amend the Essential Commodities Act to give more teeth to it so that the Government control over the prices increases. He said that the decision of the Government of India to increase the prices of petroleum products would have a cascading effect on the prices of all the commodities by increasing the cost of transportation.

Supporting Deka, Girindra Kumar Baruah (AGP) pointed out that at one point of time, the NE region used to get subsidy on transportation of essential items by trains, but the Centre has withdrawn the subsidy, which resulted in further escalation of the prices. He said that the State Assembly should adopt a resolution demanding reintroduction of subsidy on transportation of essentials to the NE region.

In reply, Dr Islam said that the increase of prices of petroleum products might result in marginal increase of prices of essential commodities. He said that the Prime Minister has already constituted a committee of ten Chief Ministers to examine the issue of amending the Essential Commodities Act. He said that the State Government has also taken up the issue of reintroduction of subsidy on transportation of essentials to the state by trains.

The Minister said that the prices are being reviewed regularly and on March 2 he held a meeting with the Railways, Food Corporation of India and Chambers of Commerce to ensure smooth supply of all the essential commodities.