Railways not to ferry grains for private contractors

April 17th, 2008 - 8:07 pm ICT by admin  

A file-photo of Sonia Gandhi

New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Goods trains will not ferry food grains for private contractors to foil any bid for hoarding them, Railway Minister Lalu Prasad told the Lok Sabha Thursday. “Except the food grains meant for the Food Corporation of India (FCI) or the state food corporations, the railways will not ferry the grains of private contractors,” Prasad said amid thumping of benches from the ruling members.

The food grains procured by the FCI are distributed through the public distribution outlets at highly subsidised rates. FCI is a central government agency.

Inflation for the week ended April 5 slightly moderated by 0.30 percent at 7.14 percent against a 41-month high for the week ending March 29 at 7.41 percent.

“Railway will cooperate in checking prices as expected by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh,” he said.

“There is a need for de-hoarding to ensure that there is no scarcity of foods in the market,” said Lalu Prasad, while responding to the discussion on the appropriation railways bill. The lower house Thursday passed the bill.

The minister said that the UPA government was making all possible efforts to control the prices of essential commodities.

“Constant hammering is going on to bring down the prices of essential goods. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting of chief ministers to discuss the price rise situation,” he said.

“We all are concerned about the problem of inflation. We need to understand the factors and reasons responsible for the present price situation in the country,” said Lalu Prasad.

The UPA government, under attack on the issue of inflation, has been terming domestic inflation as an offshoot of a global phenomenon since prices started showing an increasing trend over the past two years.

Finance Minister P. Chidambaram Wednesday told the Lok Sabha that the government would not hesitate to initiate administrative measures while the states should impose stock limit norms.

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