An relenting opposition on Wednesday kept the pressure on the government in the Rajya Sabha on the spiraling prices alleging scam in sugar imports, a charge rejected by Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar.
Pawar, who was replying to a short duration discussion on the rising prices, faced allegations by the united opposition, particularly BJP and Left, of a "great scam" in sugar. "Not a single kilogram of sugar was imported by the government,"
Pawar said amid din which forced adjournment of the House for the third time during the day on issues related to fuel or food prices. CPI(M) member Brinda Karat alleged that state agencies have played a "dubious" role by not importing sugar and leaving it to the private trade.
Sugar prices in the last one year have more than doubled in the retail market and are currently ruling above Rs 43 a kg.
The hour-long reply by Pawar, after the House reassembled at 1400 hours, saw frequent interruptions and shouting of slogans by the opposition which said the minister was not addressing the concerns raised by them specifically with regard to sugar prices and the issue price of commodities distributed through PDS.
Claiming that prices of some of the essential commodities like pulses, flour, potato and onion have declined, Pawar said the government had raised the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for wheat and rice by over 70 per cent in the last five years and some impact was unavoidable on inflation.