Pradeep Pattanayak

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led Odisha government is in the crosshairs of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) and the Congress for not spending a penny from its Price Stabilisation Fund to control the price rise of essential commodities. 

Every year, the prices of some commodities suddenly soar due to reasons like late harvest and natural calamities. In order to reduce the burden on consumers, the Central government formed a Price Stabilisation Fund in the financial year of 2014-15. The prices of 22 food items are controlled by utilising the fund. 

As per the information tabled by the Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Ashwini Choubey on August 11; the fund received Rs 27,489 crore in the last eight years. The Central government tried to stabilise the prices of essential items like onion, atta, cooking oil, etc. by spending from this fund. 

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At the same time, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs is also providing financial support to the states to form their own Price Stabilisation Fund. Odisha has so far received Rs 75 crore. The state government has also made a budget allocation of Rs 100 crore for the fund. 

Yet, it is alleged that the state government isn’t spending a penny to control the price hike of essential commodities. 
“In Andhra Pradesh, onion is selling at Rs 25/kg. The prices of ridged gourd, brinjal, and lady's finger are below Rs 50. Why the government in Odisha is not doing so? They are instead spending the money in own advertisements,” alleged Congress leader Suresh Routray. 

“Except petrol, diesel, and gas, all the items are coming under the state government. And the hoarders are controlling the market. What is more, the state government is encouraging them,” alleged Manoj Mohapatra, BJP spokesperson. 

Throwing the ball into the court of the Central government, Odisha Consumer Welfare Minister, Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said, “It is the responsibility of the Central government to control the prices of essential commodities. They should take a decision in this regard.”