UDF Stages Walkout from Assembly over Denial of Debate on Price Hike  

Thiruvananthapuram: Congress-led UDF members today staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly in protest against denial of an adjournment motion seeking a discussion on the price hike of rice and other essential commodities in the open market.

Seeking the leave of the House to move the motion over the price hike, T.V. Ibrahim of IUML alleged that the government failed to arrest the price hike as the cost of living continues to increase, and people find it difficult to make both ends meet.

In his reply, Food and Civil Supplies Minister P. Thilothaman said the government took several steps to control the price hike of commodities in open market. “Around 1,470  ‘Onam Fair Price Shops’ will be opened during the ensuing Onam festival in the State. Another 3,500 shops will be operated by cooperative Consumer Federation ahead of the harvest festival, Onam,” he added.

Stating that the government had allocated Rs 446 crore to various agencies to interfere in the market to reduce the price hike last year, he said the government is in touch with the Andhra Pradesh Government to get rice for ‘low price’ during the Onam season.

Following the reply, Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan denied permission to move the adjournment motion.

Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala alleged that the government had failed to take precautionary measures to control the price hike.

Though the Opposition leader asked the Food Minister to disclose the ‘purchase price’ of rice from Andhra, the Minister could not tell the details of the bulk purchase, saying that discussion on fixing price is going on at various levels.

In protest against the government stand of not discussing the price hike issue in the House, the Opposition members staged a walkout.