Blaming "speculative hoarding" for the spurt in prices of essential food items, the Centre today asked onion producing states like Maharashtra to ensure uninterrupted supply of the kitchen staple to keep prices under check.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the second day on Thursday reviewed price situation with senior Cabinet colleagues Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh and Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan.
Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who hails from Maharashtra, and Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti were also present in the meeting.
After the meeting, Paswan told reporters in New Delhi, "All efforts will be made to ensure there is no shortage of onion, potato and tomato anywhere in the country".
He said he had discussions with Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, who has assured adequate supply of onion to consumer states.
The Maharashtra CM has informed that there is no shortage of onion in the state, Paswan said.
Blaming speculative hoarding for the recent fluctuation in prices, the Food Minister said production of these commodities is good and there is no reason for rise in prices. Paswan made a presentation about working and key challenges being faced by the two departments -- Food and Consumer Affairs -- to the Prime Minister.
The PM was briefed about how to unbundle Food Corporation of India (FCI) to improve procurement, storage and distribution of foodgrains, challenges in implementing the Food law, leakage in the Public Distribution System and the need to impose uniform taxes on wheat and rice at state level, sources said.
Paswan also informed the need to amend the food law to extend the deadline for its implementation across the country, they added.
As regards to controlling prices of essential items, sources said the Centre has limited powers to crack down on hoarders and black-marketeers.