Kerala residents in Australia seek rice from home

July 17th, 2008 - 8:36 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Thiruvananthapuram, July 17 (IANS) Kerala expatriates settled in Australia are seeking a particular rice variety from their state as its supply has virtually stopped, leading to skyrocketing prices. The Melbourne chapter of the World Malayalee Council in Australia pleaded for help from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, central ministers from Kerala, Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan and Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy to immediately intervene as supply of Kerala rice has virtually stopped.

Speaking to IANS on telephone from Melbourne, Thiruvallam Bhasian, an office bearer of the council, said that prices have skyrocketed for rice and `atta’ (flour) which are used by Keralites in Australia.

“The price of 10 kg of `Palakkadan Matta’ variety of rice has shot up from Aus$11 to Aus$27 in the last few months. Likewise price of 10 kg of ‘atta’ went up from Aus$10 to Aus$22. In the past few days we have been told there is no more stock of rice what we Keralites usually use,” said Bhasi, a journalist who edits two magazines published from Melbourne.

An estimated 30,000 Keralites live in Australia, many of them in Melbourne.

“Even though we get other Indian varieties of rice, we have been used to the Kerala variety for long. We have sent letters to all important political personalities and we will wait for sometime to see if they take action,” said Bhasi.

He added that if nothing happens, they will undertake a day-long fast in front of the Indian Deputy High Commissioner’s office in Melbourne.

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