Flak on inflation adds to UPA government’s woes

April 4th, 2008 - 9:37 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, April 4 (IANS) The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s headache over inflation that touched a record high Friday intensified with its allies mounting pressure to bring down prices of essential commodities without any delay. “The situation is indeed alarming. We have to take immediate measures to bring down inflation,” said Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and union Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh.

Coming down heavily on the government, the Left parties criticised it for doing “too little too late.” They plan a nationwide agitation April 15, the day Parliament reconvenes, against price-rise.

“Despite our continued pressure the government has done too little too late. It now needs to take more measures to bring prices under control,” said Communist Party of India-Marxist MP Roopchand Pal.

When the Budget session of parliament reconvenes ten days from now, the government will face attacks not only from the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but also from its own allies.

“The government has taken measures. But the situation now warrants tighter and more effective steps,” said Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesperson D.P. Tripathi.

Cutting across political affiliations, parties are demanding a check on speculative trading, hoarding and black marketing of essential commodities.

“The government has to bring down prices. It has to check private players,” said RJD MP Devendra Prasad Yadav.

The government issued a fresh warning Friday to those stoking inflationary pressures, and said containing price rise was the top priority for the UPA.

“We will not hesitate to take the strongest possible measures, including using some of the legal provisions we have against hoarding,” Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said on the margins of a tourism event in Singapore Friday.

The inflation rate was already ruling at a 13-month high during the previous week, as per data released by the commerce and industry ministry here Friday.

Statistics further showed that prices of minerals shot up 38 percent in just a week between March 15 and March 22, while vegetables were costlier by as much as 4.9 percent.

Similarly, prices of lentils were up 1.4 percent and edible oils were costlier by 1.6 percent. Cement prices remained unchanged.

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