Shimla: Runaway prices of essential commodities has activated Communist Party of India (Marxists) here who are intent upon intensifying their stir, declaring that inaction by the government against hoarders would make them resort to direct action by picketing black-marketers and hoarding stockists.
Holding both the UPA government at the centre and the BJP government in the state responsible for the â€˜uncontrolled price riseâ€™ Rakesh Singha, CPI(M) state secretary told reporters â€œbotched up food policies of these governments have caused a crisis that could precipitate hunger deaths and suicides in the hill state.â€
â€œHaving lived through 3 crop failures and staring in the face of another one has broken the farming communityâ€™s back and the countryâ€™s two largest political parties, congress and BJP are playing food politics,â€ he said.
After having held two public rallies at Shimla and Mandi in December and January in protest of prices rise, starting Monday CPI(M) has planned state wide demonstrations and rallies to exert pressure on the government to act.
â€œWhereas the central government has reduced the stateâ€™s public distribution system (PDS) rice quota by 36.11 percent (1 lakh tons) since 2007 and the state government from 1st February has announced increase of prices of Urad Daal under an food subsidized scheme from Rs 30 to 35/- per Kg,â€ said Singha.
Governments that swear by â€˜Aam Adamiâ€™ have become insensitive to the needs of the poor as high food prices are only making the rich richer and the poor poorer, he added.
Calling for a change in law whereby displaying of food stocks by wholesalers and retailers should be made mandatory, the CPI(M) secretary held that the state government had failed to act against hoarders.
Seriousness of the state government can be gauged from the fact that out of an staff strength of 505, there are 239 positions lying vacant in the food and civil supply department. With such a shortfall, how can the essential commodities act be enforced, he questioned.
â€œShould the government fail to act, our party will resort to direct action by picketing black-marketers and hoarders, and food will be distributed to the poor people,â€ said Singha.
To contain prices, the party has asked for moving out of neo-liberal policies that favour corporate houses and industry over farming communities, and sought immediate removal of food items from forward trading in the country.