Cong hits out at govt over rise in essential commodities' prices

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New Delhi, Nov 1 (PTI) The Congress on Sunday attacked the government over the rise in prices of essential commodities, asking it to act sternly against black marketeers and push sufficient stocks of food in the market to check rising prices.

Congress spokesperson Gourav Vallabh accused the government of being ignorant and alleged it was allowing stocks to rot and the people to suffer.

He said the festive season is here but it is not only COVID-19 that is denting the spirits of the common man as the prices of food items are spiralling.

He claimed that with almost no fiscal stimulus, the economy is struggling to get back on track, but 'the government is ignorant and blatantly incompetent in controlling inflation'.

Vallabh said while the government should be exploring avenues to provide support to the people and boost consumption, it is on a lookout to 'extract as much from the common man and leave them helpless'.

'We demand that the government immediately act on black marketeers, assess stock of essential items lying in cold storages and push sufficient stock in the markets to control the prices,' he told reporters.

The Congress leader cited the high prices of onions and potato, saying it is highest in 10 years. He said the consumer food price inflation has been consistently high for the last few months, both in the urban and rural areas.

The overall CFPI (Consumer Food Price Index) was over 9 per cent for July 2020 and August 2020, but it breached the 10 per cent-mark in September 2020, he said, adding that the inflation rate for vegetables in September 2020 was 22.71 per cent and for pulses and products it was 13.69 per cent.

'What was the government doing to control all of this? By the looks of it, nothing. The government's incompetence and inaction is evident from the fact that while we exported 1.23 lakh tonnes of potatoes to nations like Saudi Arabia, Oman, Myanmar and others in 2019-20, we ourselves have a supply shortage,' he said.

'Why was no proper planning done before exporting our potato stock when there is a supply crunch in our domestic market,' he asked.

Vallabh said there are 30 lakh tonnes of potatoes lying in cold storages across Uttar Pradesh, out of which 22 lakh tonnes was meant for the markets.

'When the time is to boost consumption in our economy, why is the government denting the pockets of the common man through increased prices for their mandatory spending,' he also asked. PTI SKC AAR HMB