Acting on a directive of the Union government, the state government has issued directions to all district collectors to take tough action against all hoarders under Essential Commodities Act of 1955.
The decision will empower the state governments to undertake de-hoarding operations and control the prices of onions and potatoes.
This decision is also expected to help in the efforts being taken to tackle the problem of rising prices and improve the availability of these commodities to the general public, especially the vulnerable sections.
"We have issued directions to the district collectors today to take action against hoarding and black marketing of essential food items to rein in prices of potato and onion. We can book them under the Essential Commodities Act, which has enabled states to undertake effective de-hoarding operations by fixing stock limits in respect of these commodities in view of rising prices. The hoarders can be prosecuted and also criminal action can be taken against them", said state food supplies & consumer welfare secretary Madhusudhan Padhee.
The main objective of control orders is to enable state governments to continue to take effective de-hoarding operations under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 by fixing stock limits/licensing requirements in respect of these commodities, especially in view of rising prices.
The central government has already delegated powers by empowering state governments to fix stock holding limits as per local conditions and to undertake de-hoarding operations commensurate with the objective of the central orders.
Earlier, the district collectors were instructed to keep a tab on the market situation and ensure that there is not much difference between wholesale and retail prices of potatoes and onions.
The Centre had convened a meeting of state food ministers on July 4 contain spiralling prices of some essential food items.
Prices of some of the essential food commodities like potatoes and onions have shot up of late despite the Centre maintaining that there is no dearth of the two commodities and food grains.