Hyderabad: Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) Minorities Department Chairman Shaik Abdullah Sohail on Sunday demanded that the State Government impose a total ban on profiteering on essential commodities in view of month-long lockdown.
Abdullah Sohail said that the continuous lockdown since March 22 has led to a steep rise in prices of essential commodities. He said despite claims being made by the authorities, all commodities including rice, wheat, sugar, oil, vegetables, etc., were being sold at a premium in the open market. “The extension of lockdown till April 30 may result in a further shortage of essential commodities and consequently, it will lead to a heavy increase in their prices.
Therefore, he said that the State Government should fix a maximum price for all products and issue necessary directions to all wholesalers and retailers to sell those products only at specific prices on ‘no profit, no loss’ basis,” he said in a media statement.
The Congress leader said that the regulatory mechanism to control prices in Telangana needs to be strengthened as the essential commodities have become the only necessity of the general public during the lockdown. He said that the government needs to introduce a tough monitoring mechanism in the entire supply chain to ensure that common people get all the essential commodities at cheaper rates.
He said in view of a total loss of income for poor, middle-class and other sections, no amount can be called ‘affordable price’. Therefore, it is the duty of the State Government to ensure that people get the food either free of cost or at cheaper rates.
Abdullah Sohail advised that Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao constitute a Cabinet Sub-Committee to control the rising prices during the lockdown. He said that the Cabinet Sub-Committee should hold talks with Rice Millers, Wholesalers and Retailers to fix suitable prices for a different quality of rice. Further, he said that the State Government should not collect surcharge/taxes on fuel for the vehicles carrying goods and other consumables.
This would make transportation cheaper and would lead to a decrease in the overall cost of those products. Further, he said entire food material including rice, wheat, oil, and other edible products should be totally exempted from VAT and other taxes during the lockdown period.
The Congress leader said that the State Government has failed to help the common people so far during the lockdown. Even 12 kg of rice and Rs. 1500 cash for nearly 87 lakh BPL families are yet to reach most of the beneficiaries. Other sections like those without a Ration Card or the middle-class people have been left to their fate by the State Government.
He said a few NGOs and individuals have been providing food in a few slum areas.
However, he said that help would be sufficient to feed the entire population of Telangana for the remaining 18 days of lockdown in Telangana. Therefore, he demanded that the State Government take immediate measures to ensure the availability of essential commodities in sufficient quantity. It should also take immediate measures to ensure that those products are sold to the people at ‘no profit, no loss’ basis, he said.