Centre, Kerala govt being petty: Opposition UDF on sale of branded rice

UDF slams Centre and Kerala govt for petty branded rice battle
UDF slams Centre and Kerala govt for petty branded rice battle
UDF slams Centre and Kerala govt for petty branded rice battle
Leader of Opposition and Congress leader V D Satheesan
Leader of Opposition and Congress leader V D Satheesan

Kochi | The Congress-led UDF on Thursday attacked the Centre and the ruling Left government in Kerala over the sale of their respective brands of rice, alleging that both were displaying their "pettiness" by such tactics.

While the Centre launched its 'Bharat' brand rice priced at Rs 29 per kilogram last month, the Left government launched its 'Sabari K-rice' brand yesterday.

Leader of Opposition and Congress leader V D Satheesan said that the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's showed their "pettiness" through the launch of Bharat rice.

"However, much more pettiness was shown by CM Pinarayi Vijayan with the launch of K-rice," he alleged.

He claimed that the varieties of rice sold under the 'Sabari' brand name were earlier available in 10 kg quantities and now the same was being given only in 5 kg packs.

"So there has been a reduction. Moreover, the rice is not available anywhere after it was inaugurated yesterday," the opposition leader further alleged.

While launching the state government's branded rice, Vijayan had attacked the Centre by accusing it of selling Bharat rice at a price higher than its cost, and said the union government only has profit on its mind.

He had alleged that the Bharat rice was not subsidised as it was bought by the Centre for Rs 18.59 per kg and then sold for Rs 29 per kg.

On the other hand, the Kerala government's 'Sabari K rice', which will be sold through state-run SupplyCo outlets at Rs 29 and Rs 30 per kg, was procured for Rs 40 per kg, he had claimed.

"So, the Centre is selling the rice with a desire for profit as well as for political gains," the CM had alleged.

The rice sold under the Bharat brand is provided by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) and retail chain Kendriya Bhandar.

These agencies pack the rice in 5 kg and 10 kg bags and sell it through their outlets under the 'Bharat' brand.

The union government has resorted to the retail sale of FCI rice after it received a lukewarm response on its sale of rice to bulk users at the same rate through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).

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