‘Don’t just blame me for price rise’ | india | Hindustan Times
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‘Don’t just blame me for price rise’

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Sunday that he alone could not be held responsible for the sharp rise in prices of food articles across the country, reports Yogesh Joshi.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2010 01:22 IST
Yogesh Joshi

Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said on Sunday that he alone could not be held responsible for the sharp rise in prices of food articles across the country.

“I am not the only person involved in this process (of setting prices). The Prime Minister and all of us (in the cabinet) together decide price policy. There is an expert committee to give guidelines to the cabinet, which takes the final decision,” he said in Pune.

Reacting to criticism against him for the price rise, Pawar said: “The (United Progressive Alliance) got more seats in the (Lok Sabha) elections and people know how it can take decisions in their favour. Those who are criticising the government have been kept out by the people.”

On Friday, Pawar had said in Pune: “It is beyond my understanding how price rise is linked to the agriculture ministry.”

However, he clarified on Saturday in Karad, 100 km

east of Pune: “I am ready to take criticism if farmers benefit (because of) increased prices.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) reacted sharply to Pawar’s statement. Party spokesperson Prakash Jawadekar said: “To say that farmers have benefited from the increased prices is deceiving the people.”

Jawadekar said: “Farmers got Rs 16 for every kg of sugar; so sugar should have been available at Rs 25 in the local market. But when it is sold at Rs 40 per kg, neither the farmer nor the common man is benefited. The only beneficiaries are the black marketers.”

Swabhimani Shetkari Sanghatana’s Kolhapur MP Raju Shetty, said: “The price rise is because of Pawar’s wrong policies and unnecessary interference in the functioning of the Commission for Agricultural Cost and Prices.”

(With PTI inputs)